The civil aviation sector in Poland continues to undergo many changes concurrent with the country’s recent accession to the European Union. The liberalization of Poland’s air transportation industry and implementation of the “open skies” agreement as of May 1, 2004 has created a new operating environment, which promises vastly increased competition. Until recently the number of passengers served at Polish airports was growing rapidly, with the world’s fastest annual growth rate. This pace slowed a bit in the fall of 2008 as the economic crises influenced the number of travelling passengers.
Still, the number of passengers passing through Polish airports has been growing significantly over the last several years. In 2004, the number of passengers reached almost 9 million. In 2005, this figure reached 11.5 million, in 2006 – over 14 million, in 2007 – 16.27 million, while in 2008 – 20.77 million. This growth trend ended in 2009 with the total number of passengers reaching 18.95 million passengers. The end of 2009 showed the first signs of recovery with slight growth (1.9%) in December. The Civil Aviation Office predicts that the total number of passengers served by Polish airports will reach 36 million in 2015, almost 50 million in 2020 and 75 million in 2030. In the last five years, the structure of the Polish air sector has changed significantly – first, regarding growth in the number of passengers - mostly attributed to low cost airlines, and second, regional airports have noted much higher passenger growth than the Warsaw Airport.
Warsaw’s Okecie International Airport (also known as Chopin Airport), the largest in Poland, is operated by the Polish Airports State Enterprise (PPL). Okecie currently operates an old terminal (T1), opened in 1992, and a new terminal (T2) opened in the spring of 2008.
Most regional airports are owned by consortia, which include nearby municipalities, Polish Airports State Enterprise and private entities. In the past, most lacked the necessary funds and capital to adequately develop, but currently funds from regional development funds, European Union Structural and Cohesion funds, and private capital are readily available.
The Government of Poland estimates that almost 7 billion PLN ($3.2 billion) will be spent by Polish airports until 2012, mainly to get prepared for the European Cup Soccer Championships - Euro 2012. The majority of the financing will come from EU sources, with the remaining portion to be financed by airports and local governments.
The Civil Aviation Office is the primary Polish civil aviation authority, and falls under the authority of the Ministry of Infrastructure.
- consulting services
- terminal equipment including baggage handling
- flight information and display systems
- parking revenue control systems
- boarding bridges
- airport security systems
- runway and taxiway lights
- aircraft maintenance equipment
- aircraft rescue equipment
Investment plans announced by the major Polish airports: Warsaw Airport– potential investment projects
- construction of a new runway (in discussions)
- construction of Central Pier
- completion of Southern Pier
- integration of Terminal 1 and Terminal 2
- modernization of Terminal 1
- modernization of technical airport systems (lights, power supply, etc.)
- runway and taxiway surface modernization
- general business plan
- construction of a new hotel
- construction of new car parking
Gdansk Airport – potential investment projects
- extension of a passenger terminal
- modernization of taxiways
- construction of a new taxiway
- construction of a deicing apron
Poznan Airport – potential investment projects
- extension of the passenger’s terminal
- construction of new taxiway parallel to the runway and extension of the runway
- construction of apron
- construction of a new parking lot
- construction of a new hotel
Wroclaw Airport –potential investment projects
- extension of the new terminal (currently executed by German Hochtief) 41
- extension of a runway and taxiways
- new apron
Krakow Airport – potential investment projects valued up to 800 million PLN by 2013
- construction of a new passenger terminal
- development of apron and taxiways
- construction of a hotel
Katowice Airport – potential investment projects valued up to 640 million PLN by 2015
- new runway
- construction of a new cargo terminal
- development of taxiways and apron
Other airports like Lodz, Rzeszow, Szczecin, Bydgoszcz, Zielona Gora and the planned airport in Modlin, also have ambitious investment plans.