Katowice Airport lies in southern Poland near the junction of the two most important highways in that part of Europe - the A1 (north-south) and A4 (east-west). The airport serves the largest metropolis in the country. Katowice has a population of almost 2.3 million, and 13 million people live within a two-hour drive of the airport. Katowice Airport is one of the largest in Poland and is the national leader in terms of charter traffic, as well as the largest regional airport with regard to cargo traffic.
Katowice Airport hosts a large Wizz Air base, where the airline stations a fleet of eight Airbus A320/A321 aircraft. Regular flights from Katowice Airport are also operated by LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Ryanair and Transavia. In addition, charter carriers base their aircraft at Katowice Airport, including the largest Polish charter carrier, Enter Air, Czech Smartwings and Ryanair.
Since Poland's accession to the EU, Katowice Airport has recorded dynamic passenger traffic growth from 600,000 passengers in 2004 to almost five million in 2018.
"In 2018, Katowice Airport will handle approximately 4.8 million passengers, over 900,000 more than in the previous year," says Artur Tomasik, president of the Board of the Upper Silesian Aviation Group (GTL), the company that owns the airport. "The increase in passenger traffic will amount to approximately 25% and will not only be higher than the European average, which according to ACI Europe is at around 8%, but also with regard to the estimated average traffic growth of 16% in the dynamically growing Polish market.
"Such positive results are only possible owing to a rapidly growing network of regularly scheduled and charter flights, which, in peak season this year, included 130 routes to 31 countries spanning four continents."
Since 2007, Katowice Airport has been undergoing the largest ever dynamic infrastructure development process in its history. The airport has been expanded in such a way as to enable the development of bases for both regular and charter airlines. So far, the largest and most significant investment has been the construction of the new 3,200m runway, together with a system of taxiways.
At the same time, the number of aircraft parking positions was increased, and a new taxiway and aircraft de-icing area were constructed. The airport has been adapted for category-II aircraft operations, meaning air traffic movement can safely take place in conditions of severely limited visibility. In addition, a new aircraft technical and maintenance base, one of the essential elements for the development of air traffic, was completed - as were works related to terminal infrastructure. Passenger Terminal A, used by passengers flying to countries not belonging to the Schengen Area, has been expanded and fully renovated. A new Terminal, C, which handles all arrivals, was opened.
Further investments are under way. The car park in front of the passenger terminals is undergoing expansion, and the coming year will see the start of the reconstruction and expansion of the passenger terminal that handles passengers flying to countries within the Schengen Area. In the near future, the company that owns the airport will begin conceptual work related to the construction of a new, central passenger terminal. In the coming years, Katowice Airport is also focusing on the construction of a new firefighting and rescue service watchtower, the expansion of the aircraft maintenance base, a central guardhouse, a fuel base, as well as the continued expansion of the aprons.
External companies are investing at Katowice Airport. In September 2018, Moxy Hotel (Marriott) was opened. The investor and facility manager is Chopin Airport Development. In addition, the Polish Air Navigation Services Agency is developing two projects in Pyrzowice. Next year promises to be another record-breaking one at Katowice Airport. Forecasts predict that in 2019, it will handle more than five million travellers in one calendar year for the first time in its history.