John Paul II International Airport Kraków–Balice
|John Paul II International Airport Kraków–Balice
Międzynarodowy Port Lotniczy im. Jana Pawła II Kraków–Balice
|IATA: KRK – ICAO: EPKK|
|Operator||LHC/KRK Airport Services|
|Elevation AMSL||241 m / 791 ft|
John Paul II International Airport Kraków–Balice (Polish: Kraków Airport im. Jana Pawła II since 4 September 2007; earlier in Polish: Międzynarodowy Port Lotniczy im. Jana Pawła II Kraków–Balice) (IATA: KRK, ICAO: EPKK) is an international airport located near Kraków, in the village of Balice, 11 km (6.8 mi) west of the city centre, in southern Poland.
The airport opened for civil aviation in 1964. The Balice airport was a military site until 28 February 1968. Four years later the first passenger terminal was built there.
In 1988 the authorities decided to build a new terminal that was opened for public use in 1993. In 1995, the entire apron was modernized.
In 1995 the airport's name was changed from Kraków–Balice Airport to John Paul II International Airport Kraków–Balice, to honor Pope John Paul II, who spent many years of his life in Kraków and had served as Archbishop of Kraków from 1963 until his elevation to the Papacy in 1978. For marketing reasons, the official name was further "streamlined" on 4 September 2007 as Kraków Airport im. Jana Pawła II.
Development since the 2000s
The airport was modernized once more in 2002, and since then new international connections have been established.
In 2003, when Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair became interested in starting a service from the John Paul II International Airport, the airport authorities refused to reduce the landing fees. In response, the regional authorities of Kraków and Lesser Poland Voivodeship decided to build a new airport near the existing one, using the infrastructure of the military airbase adjacent to the shared runway. Finally an agreement was reached, and the existing airport was opened to Ryanair and other low-cost carriers such as Germanwings, EasyJet, and Centralwings.
On 1 March 2007, a separate domestic terminal (T2) was opened. At that time, plans were underway to begin construction of a new terminal.
A seven story parking garage opposite T1 became fully operational in May 2010.
On 12 December 2012, Irish low cost carrier Ryanair announced they would be opening their second Polish base in Kraków basing two Boeing 737–800 aircraft at the airport from 31 March 2013, which allows the carrier to increase the number of the routes from Kraków to 31. As of September 2013, a new hotel is being built in the nearest area of the airport terminal.
Kraków Airport is the second busiest airport in the country after Warsaw Frederic Chopin Airport. The airport has good growth prospects, as almost 8 million people live within 100 km (62 mi) of it. The airport also has a favorable location on the network of existing and planned motorways in this region of Poland, but it faces stiff competition from the nearby Katowice International Airport in Pyrzowice, as well as other Polish airports.
11 April 2013 saw the beginning of construction works of a new airport terminal, which would be adjacent to the existing old terminal building. The new terminal is planned to be finished in March 2015. The terminal will serve all-year-round, 24 hours a day, both domestic as well as international flights. The expected maximum capacity of the terminal is up to 8 million passengers handled in a year (over twice as much as the airport served in 2012). It will also be possible to handle transfer passengers irrespective of the routes (Schengen/Non-Schengen destinations). Apart from the main terminal building, other elements of the airport infrastructure are planned to be built or rebuilt, such as a new luggage handling system or a roofed footbridge connecting the terminal building and the nearby multi-level parking lot. The terminal has a direct railway link to Kraków Główny by Koleje Małopolskie.
The airport has one concrete runway, number 07/25, 2,550 m × 60 m (8,366 ft × 197 ft).
Airlines and destinations
|1||United Kingdom, London||377,000||8%||easyJet, Ryanair|
|2||Poland, Warsaw||245,000||11%||LOT Polish Airlines|
|5||Norway, Oslo||194,000||10%||Norwegian, Ryanair|
|6||France, Paris||148,000||14%||easyJet, Ryanair|
|7||Germany, Berlin||131,000||120%||Air Berlin|
|9||United Kingdom, Edinburgh||113,000||2%||easyJet, Ryanair|
|Year||Passenger Count||Percent Change|
In addition to road access by private car or taxi, other options are:
The "Balice Express" which operated between Kraków Główny (Main railway station) and the Kraków–Balice Airport railway station is temporarily suspended. The service is planned to resume in 2015. It will take about 15 minutes to get to the city centre.  It is also expected that the railway line will ultimately reach the terminal building, rather than the current temporary stop 250 m (820 ft) from terminal T1 by 2015. Starting February 2014 the train route will be closed for approx. 1,5 years due to the construction of the new station that will be located at the new terminal, as well as building new train tracks. After the construction is completed, entire route will be electrified and current trains will be replaced by electric ones.
Public buses link the airport during the day (lines 208 and 292) and during the night (line 902) with the main railway station in Kraków (Kraków Główny) and the central bus station (Kraków Główny RDA). Normal city tariffs apply (2 zones) thus making it by far the cheapest public transport connection to the city centre, at 4.00 PLN. Public buses can be used after purchasing tickets from a ticket machine located at the bus stop (with cash or credit card) or from ticket machines that can be found in some of the buses (with coins only). All tickets have to be validated after getting on a bus. It is also possible to use private-owned bus and minibus services connecting the airport with the city center or other cities in Poland. Tickets require bookings in advance.
Incidents and accidents
- On 28 August 2007, a Ryanair flight from Shannon suffered a bird strike on its final approach and blew its front tires during landing, resulting in an airport closure for a few hours and requiring an emergency evacuation of the aircraft. There were no injuries and the aircraft sustained no further damage.
- "EAD Basic". Ead.eurocontrol.int. Retrieved 2012-09-06.
- "Na lotnisku w Krakowie powstaje wielopoziomowy parking" (in Polish). www.2012.org.pl. 2009-12-18. Archived from the original on 2010-01-11. Retrieved 2011-09-11.
- "Developing and restructuring the existing passenger terminal". Krakow Airport. Retrieved 2013-09-10.
- "By train". Krakow Airport. Retrieved 2013-09-10.
- "Train station". Krakow Airport. Retrieved 2013-09-10.
- "Incident: RyanAir B738 at Krakow on Aug 28th 2007, bird strike upon landing, both tires on NLG blown". Avherald.com. 2007-08-28. Retrieved 2011-09-11.
- Airport website (English) (Polish)
- John Paul II International Airport, Krakow, Poland
- Airport Krakow (English)