Poland wants to become a major player in global air traffic and is planning a large hub near the capital Warsaw.
Warsaw Airport is growing fast. Since 2014, the Lotnisko Chopina has increased the number of passengers in the Polish capital by more than one million every year. In 2017, it even managed an annual increase of almost three million passengers. For Poland’s government, therefore, the construction of a larger successor has long been certain: with the Centralny Port Komunikacyjny or Solidarność Airport, it is planning a major hub for Eastern Europe.
The successor is to increase capacity from the current 18 million passengers to 45 million for the time being. It will be designed in such a way that this number of passengers can rise to 100 million if further construction phases are implemented. Work is scheduled to start in 2021. At the planned opening in 2027, the 3000 hectare hub is planned to be almost a third larger than Frankfurt Airport. Now, for the first time, the project managers gave more detailed insights into their plans.
Same as at other major airports
The newly founded airport company, for example, has published its first site plan in a press release. It shows that the Solidarność airport will have a so-called midfield terminal. In this concept, the apron and the terminal are located centrally, while two parallel runways surround the airport on the outside. For later phases, the planners plan to add another runway to each of the two runways, thus creating four parallel runways.
With the midfield concept, the architects are following a trend. For example, airports such as Dubai World Central, Beijing-Daxing or the new Istanbul Airport have been built according to the same principle that has long proved successful worldwide. The construction method provides a clear arrangement of terminal, apron and runways and therefore promises little complexity in operation and subsequent extensions.
Start with just one terminal
It can also be seen that Warsaw’s new hub will have only one large terminal on the east side of the airport. Similar to Hartsfield-Jackson Airport in Atlanta, there will also be a long, parallel satellite terminal in the middle of the apron. Passengers will be able to reach it underground from the main terminal. Directly next to the terminal, the architects are planning a long-distance railway station and a large multi-storey car park.
On the other side of the airport, air freight and maintenance hangars as well as important infrastructure parts such as fire brigade, fuel storage, catering and energy supply will be accommodated. De-icing stations are also planned before the start of the runways. In July, the planners plan to meet with the airlines for the first time to clarify their needs.
«Largest project in modern Poland»
The project is important not only for aviation in Poland, but also for the entire country. The construction of the first stage with 45 million passengers is expected to cost about 35 billion zloty or the equivalent of 8.1 billion euros. The planned train and road connections could require just as much. Meanwhile, Mikolaj Wild, the Deputy Minister of Infrastructure responsible for the project, spoke of the «largest project in Poland’s modern history».