Gdańsk Lech Wałęsa Airport

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Gdańsk Lech Wałęsa Airport
Port Lotniczy Gdańsk im. Lecha Wałęsy
Logo gdansk airport.jpg
DanzigLechWalesaFlughafen-2.JPG
Summary
Airport type Public
Owner/Operator Port Lotniczy Gdańsk Spółka z.o.o.
Serves Tricity, Poland
Hub for Ryanair, Wizzair
Elevation AMSL 149 m / 489 ft
Coordinates 54°22′39″N 018°27′58″E / 54.37750°N 18.46611°E / 54.37750; 18.46611
Website airport.gdansk.pl
Map
GDN is located in Poland
GDN
GDN
Location of airport in Poland
Runways
Direction Length Surface
m ft
11/29 2,800 9,186 Asphalt/Concrete
Statistics (2016)
Passengers served 4,010,864 Increase
Aircraft Movements 41,079 Increase
Source: Polish AIP at EUROCONTROL[1] Statistics: Airport site

Gdańsk Lech Wałęsa Airport (Polish: Port Lotniczy Gdańsk im. Lecha Wałęsy, formerly Polish: Port Lotniczy Gdańsk-Rębiechowo) (IATA: GDNICAO: EPGD) is an international airport located 12 km (7.5 mi) northwest[1] of Gdańsk, Poland, not far from the city centres of the Tricity metropolitan area: Gdańsk (12 km (7.5 mi)), Sopot (10 km (6.2 mi)) and Gdynia (23 km (14 mi)). The airport is named after Lech Wałęsa, the former Polish president. With over 4 million passengers served in 2016, it is the third largest airport in Poland in terms of passenger traffic. The most popular destinations to and from Gdansk Airport are cities in the Nordic countries, Germany and in the British Isles. Also, a significant number of passengers travel between Gdansk and the Polish capital, Warsaw.

History[edit]

Early years (1910s-1950s)[edit]

An airpost Junkers F.13 in 1921 in Gdańsk-Wrzeszcz

The first passenger flights in Gdańsk were operated in the year 1919 from an airfield in the Langfuhr district of the Free City of Danzig (nowadays Wrzeszcz district of Gdańsk).[2] It was possible thanks to a transformation of that military location into a civilian facility. The airport was at that time additionally used for airmail services and by the police. In the next years the airport continued acquisitions of further areas which allowed it to expand and invest in modern infrastructure at that time. The technical development of Gdańsk Lech Wałęsa Airport was followed by the launching of regular routes to Warsaw, Berlin, Moscow, Königsberg and other important cities of the region. The flights were already operated by numerous international aviation companies. The first Polish route was served between Gdańsk, Warsaw and Lviv by Aerolloyd and it was started in September 1922. The company initially used Junkers F.13 aircraft on that daily route. This domestic service was the beginning of the company which later gradually became the LOT Polish Airlines, which is still Poland's national carrier.

A railway connection to Gdańsk Lech Wałęsa Airport was built in the 1920s. This was followed by new tram tracks in the year 1930. The airport itself had a concrete runway which had light and navigation facilities allowing aircraft to land and to take off at night. In the 1930s Gdańsk Lech Wałęsa Airport served less than 2 thousand passengers annually but it was an important international hub that connected four countries and provided transport facilities between Polish cities.

The airport in Wrzeszcz was an important base of the German air forces during the Second World War. Even before that, German pilots had been trained on the grounds of this airport. Heavy bombings and other military activities led to the destruction of the airport. However, it was reconstructed after the war and it was provided with modern technics which allowed the airport to develop. Old domestic routes as well as many international destinations were relaunched. The airport had regular connections to countries like Hungary, Germany, Bulgaria, Denmark and Sweden.

New location since 1970s[edit]

As the airport facilities became old and non functional at the end of the 1960s (including runway lights which forced airport authorities to ban night flights), a new location near the village of Rębiechowo was chosen. The airport had to be built somewhere else also because of the further urban development. New areas were needed in order to make it possible for the public investors to construct new buildings for the growing population of Gdańsk. Furthermore, a new longer runway was necessary in order to allow larger jet airliners to take off and land safely as the era of modern jet aircraft began. The old airport in Wrzeszcz was officially closed on 1 May 1974 and it practically ceased to exist as a large housing estate was built on its grounds. Nowadays only a few remaining elements of the old Wrzeszcz airport infrastructure can be found.

After the closure of the old airport, the new one was built and it opened in 1974 near the village of Rębiechowo[2] (on westernmost land incorporated into the Gdańsk borough of Matarnia in 1973). The airport acquired its current name in 2004. There was some controversy as to whether the name should be spelled Lech Walesa (without diacritics, but better recognizable in the world) or Lech Wałęsa (with Polish letters, but difficult to write and pronounce for foreigners, the closest English phonetic approximation being "Vawensa").

Since 1993 Gdańsk Lech Wałęsa Airport has been owned 31.45% by the authorities of Pomeranian Voivodeship, 29.45% by city of Gdańsk, 1.14% by city of Gdynia, 0.35% by city of Sopot and 37.61% by Polish Airports State Enterprise. In 2006 the airport served for the first time in its history more than 1 million passengers per year. In 2010 the passenger number was higher than 2 million. After the construction of a new modern passenger terminal with extended capacities (the opening took place in April 2012 ahead of the UEFA Euro 2012 football championships), the airport continued its development and it served for the first time over 3 million passengers in a single year in 2014. In summer season 2015 the airlines flying to and from the airport served over 50 regular routes as well as charter and cargo flights.

Airport infrastructure[edit]

Airside facilities[edit]

Gdańsk Lech Wałęsa Airport has a single asphalt-concrete runway in the direction of 11/29.[3] The runway is 2,800 m (9,200 ft) long and it is equipped with a modern ILS CAT II allowing aircraft to land in foggy weather. The decision height established for the approach system in Gdańsk is 30 m (98 ft), whereas the visibility minimum for pilots varies from 125 m (410 ft) to 300 m (980 ft), the higher value being required in the initial one-third of the runway's length.[4][5] In addition, the navigation facilities at the airport are supplemented with a modern wide area multilateration system.[6]

The runway as well as taxiways are equipped with light aids system using LED technology. The lighting of the runway can be remotely controlled from the flight control tower. The runway has two exit taxiways leading to five parking aprons where up to 18 middle-sized aircraft (e.g. Boeing 737 or Airbus 321) can be parked. The airport also has an extra apron used in winter for de-icing of aircraft. The deicing pad has been constructed in a way which allows keeping up ecological standards.

Passenger terminals[edit]

Public area at Terminal T2
Departures area at Terminal T2

Gdańsk Lech Wałęsa Airport has two passengers terminals (T1 and T2), of which only Terminal T2 is fully functional. Terminal T1 was built in 1993 and is currently being used for departures (passport control and boarding) to countries which are not part of Schengen Area, mainly to Great Britain, Ireland and holiday destinations e.g. to Egypt. There is no check-in desks in Terminal T1 but passengers waiting for their flights can do the shopping at duty-free stores located close to the departure gates. The building is connected with the newer Terminal T2 with a bridge. The old building is planned to be torn down in the future when the new terminal is extended.

The new terminal, called Terminal T2, is a modern building with characteristic architectural elements, the roof imitating waves at sea being an example of them. It was constructed west of Terminal T1. The first part (departures only) was completed in 2012, and the arrival area started operations in September 2015. Since then, Terminal 1 does not serve any arriving passengers.

The overall area of Terminal 2 amounts to approx. 54,000 m2 (580,000 sq ft). The terminal has a direct link to a railway station. It has 25 check-in desks, a highly modern luggage transport and sorting facility and a spacious departure area with gates. At the airport in Gdańsk, five jet bridges are available for airlines to use. The terminal handled 3.3 million passengers in 2014 which was about 66% of its maximum capacity. However, after the completion of the new arrival area, the maximum capacity of the airport is estimated at 7 million passengers per year. The terminal offers services such as tourist information, shops, kiosks, bars, currency exchange desks, different car rentals and an executive lounge. There is also a conference room and facilities for handling VIP passengers and general aviation flights.

Future development[edit]

According to the airport authorities,[7] Gdańsk Lech Wałęsa Airport will be further developed in the next years. Plans include an installation of an even more modern landing system ILS CAT IIIb which will allow pilots to operate at very poor visibility caused by fog and bad weather. Gdańsk Lech Wałęsa Airport will be the second airport in Poland, after Warsaw Chopin Airport, to have this facility.

The existing terminal is also planned to be extended despite the fact that it is new and can easily handle the current passengers flows. A new concourse will be constructed exclusively for departing flights. When it is finished, the old terminal building serving Non-Schengen flights will be either demolished or rebuilt for other purposes which will not be directly aimed at passenger services.

After the modernization and extension works, the new capacity of the Gdańsk Lech Wałęsa Airport will be at the estimated level of 9 million passenger annually.

Also, a completely new district of Gdansk is planned to be built directly next to the airport. It will be called Gdansk Airport City and it will mainly comprise of new buildings with offices and services as well as hotels. The construction works are planned to begin in 2018.[8] However, some facilities that will become a part of the Airport City in the future already exist. These include the Allcon Park offering office areas, as well as the first of the planned five buildings of BCB Business Park. The existing Hampton by Hilton hotel located opposite the airport terminal will also be part of the new Airport City district in Gdansk.

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Passenger[edit]

Airlines Destinations
Air Berlin Berlin-Tegel (resumes 5 May 2017)[9]
Finnair
operated by Nordic Regional Airlines
Helsinki
KLM
operated by KLM Cityhopper
Amsterdam (begins 15 May 2017)[10]
LOT Polish Airlines Kraków, Tel Aviv-Ben Gurion (begins 18 June 2017),[11] [12] Warsaw-Chopin
Lufthansa Regional
operated by Lufthansa CityLine
Frankfurt, Munich
Norwegian Air Shuttle Oslo-Gardermoen
Ryanair Aarhus (begins 29 October 2017), Belfast-International, Bergamo, Birmingham, Bristol, Cork, Dublin, Edinburgh, Eilat-Ovda (begins 2 November 2017), Kraków, Leeds/Bradford, London-Stansted, Malta, Manchester, Naples, Newcastle, Sandefjord, Stockholm-Skavsta, Tel Aviv-Ben Gurion (begins 30 October 2017), Växjö, Warsaw-Chopin, Wrocław (begins 31 October 2017)[13]
Seasonal: Alicante, Pisa
Scandinavian Airlines Bergen, Copenhagen, Oslo-Gardermoen, Stockholm-Arlanda
Small Planet Airlines[14] Seasonal charter: Fuerteventura, Hurghada, Tenerife-South
SmartWings
operated by Travel Service Polska
Seasonal charter: Corfu, Thessaloniki
SprintAir Radom
Ukraine International Airlines Ivano-Frankivsk (resumes 31 October 2017)[15]
Wizz Air Aberdeen, Ålesund, Barcelona, Beauvais, Bergamo, Bergen, Billund, Charleroi, Cologne/Bonn, Doncaster/Sheffield, Dortmund, Eindhoven, Glasgow, Gothenburg, Groningen, Hahn, Hamburg, Haugesund, Kyiv-Zhuliany, Kristiansand, Liverpool, London-Luton, Malmö, Molde, Reykjavík-Keflavík, Sandefjord, Stavanger, Stockholm-Skavsta, Trondheim, Turku

Cargo[edit]

Airlines Destinations
ASL Airlines Belgium Katowice, Liège
DHL Aviation
operated by Cargoair
Leipzig/Halle, Tallinn
FedEx Feeder
operated by ASL Airlines Ireland
Berlin-Schönefeld, Paris-Charles de Gaulle[16]
SprintAir Warsaw-Chopin

Statistics[edit]

Traffic[edit]

Aircraft at Gdańsk Lech Wałęsa Airport
Year Passengers Passengers Change Cargo (t) Flight operations
1999 249,913 1,472 10,512
2000 269,960 Increase 8.0% Increase 1,552 Increase 11,586
2001 319,174 Increase 18.2% Increase 1,953 Increase 14,052
2002 318,033 Decrease 0.4% Increase 2,211 Decrease 13,450
2003 365,036 Increase 14.8% Increase 2,686 Increase 14,346
2004 463,840 Increase 27.1% Increase 2,742 Increase 17,500
2005 677,946 Increase 46.2% Increase 3,433 Increase 19,000
2006 1,249,780 Increase 84.3% Increase 4,037 Increase 24,200
2007 1,708,739 Increase 36.7% Increase 4,757 Increase 28,200
2008 1,954,166 Increase 14.4% Decrease 4,610 Increase 31,000
2009 1,890,925 Decrease 3.2% Decrease 4,067 Decrease 30,000
2010 2,232,590 Increase 18.1% Increase 4,487 Increase 32,000
2011 2,483,000 Increase 11.2% Increase 4,943 Increase 34,360
2012 2,906,000 Increase 17.0% Decrease 4,851 Increase 37,022
2013 2,843,737 Decrease 2.1% Increase 4,918 Increase 42,041
2014 3,288,180 Increase 15.6% Increase 5,658 Decrease 39,974
2015 3,706,108 Increase 12.7% Decrease 5,162 Increase 40,261
2016 4,010,864 Increase 8.2% Decrease 4,863 Increase 41,079
2017
Mar YTD
880,088[17] Increase 12.6%

Routes[edit]

Most popular scheduled destinations (2016)
City Passengers Carriers
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg London 486,864 Increase Ryanair, Wizz Air
Flag of Poland.svg Warsaw 443,418 Increase LOT Polish Airlines, Ryanair
Flag of Norway.svg Oslo 291,794 Increase Norwegian Air Shuttle, Ryanair, Scandinavian Airlines, Wizz Air
Flag of Sweden.svg Stockholm 231,435 Increase Scandinavian Airlines, Ryanair, Wizz Air
Flag of Germany.svg Munich 156,865 Decrease Lufthansa
Flag of Denmark.svg Copenhagen 154,872 Increase Scandinavian Airlines
Flag of Germany.svg Frankfurt 143,346 Increase Lufthansa, Wizz Air
Flag of Germany.svg Dortmund 101,625 Decrease Wizz Air
Flag of Poland.svg Kraków 89,043 Increase LOT Polish Airlines, Ryanair
Flag of Finland.svg Turku 88,098 Increase Wizz Air

Airlines[edit]

Wizz Air was the largest operator in Gdańsk with 5 based aircraft in 2016
Passenger airlines serving GDN and their market shares in 2015 and 2016[18]
Airline Passengers (2016) Passengers (2015) Change Market share (2016) Market share (2015)
Wizz Air 1,862,137 1,772,840 Increase +5,0% 46,4% Decrease 47,8%
Ryanair 1,026,016 820,590 Increase +25,0% 25,6% Increase 22,1%
LOT Polish Airlines 299,902 250,268 Increase +19,8% 7,5% Increase 6,7%
Lufthansa 270,349 277,245 Decrease -2,5% 6,7% Decrease 7,5%
Scandinavian Airlines 199,351 164,628 Increase +21,1% 5,0% Increase 4,4%
Norwegian Air Shuttle 79,986 73,829 Increase +8,3% 2,0% Steady 2,0%
Finnair 31,099 21,563 Increase +44,2% 0,8% Increase 0,6%
Air Berlin 15,239 69,156 Decrease -78,0% 0,4% Decrease 1,9%
Other airlines 226,785 255,989 5,6% 6,9%

Ground transportation[edit]

Rail[edit]

Passenger train at the railway station at Gdańsk Lech Wałęsa Airport

Pomorska Kolej Metropolitalna (PKM, the 'Pomeranian Metropolitan Railway) connects Gdańsk Lech Wałęsa Airport with Wrzeszcz and downtown Gdańsk. It connects to the Szybka Kolej Miejska (Tricity) the 'Fast Urban Railway' which provides further connections by frequent trains[19] every 6 minutes to 30 minutes to 27 stations throughout the Tricity.

As of October 2015, the tickets for the train to and from Gdańsk Lech Wałęsa Airport can be purchased in ZTM as well as SKM ticket machines located at stations throughout the city. Tickets are also sold in the trains by the employees of the railway company and they should be in this case purchased immediately after getting on the train. Regular tickets to and from Gdańsk (City ticket) cost 3,50 PLN one way. It is possible to change trains and to get to other areas of Tricity. In this case, the ticket prices may vary depending on the final station of the journey.

Bus[edit]

The following city bus lines connect the airport:

  • to Gdańsk-Centre, (Orunia Gościnna), Route 210[20] via Gdańsk-Morena, Gdańsk Main Railway Station, old city.
  • to Gdańsk-Wrzeszcz, Route 110 to Gdańsk-Wrzeszcz Railway Station.
  • to Gdynia, Route 4A to Gdynia-Redłowo Railway Station, Gdynia Main Railway Station.
  • to Sopot, Route 122 to Sopot - Kamienny Potok Railway Station via Gdańsk-Wrzeszcz

There are also bus services connecting the region and the airport in Gdańsk with Kaliningrad in Russian Federation.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Media related to Gdańsk Lech Wałęsa Airport at Wikimedia Commons