Gdańsk Lech Wałęsa Airport
|Gdansk Lech Walesa Airport
Port Lotniczy Gdańsk im. Lecha Wałęsy
|Owner/Operator||Port Lotniczy Gdańsk Spółka z.o.o.|
|Hub for||Ryanair, Wizzair|
|Elevation AMSL||149 m / 489 ft|
Gdansk Lech Walesa Airport (Polish: Port Lotniczy Gdańsk im. Lecha Wałęsy, formerly Polish: Port Lotniczy Gdańsk-Rębiechowo) (IATA: GDN, ICAO: EPGD) is an international airport located 12 km (7.5 mi) west northwest 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. On the outside wall of the terminal building one can see the logo of the airport, which is Lech Wałęsa's actual signature, a stylized "W".
Early years (1910s-1950s)
The first passenger flights in Gdansk were operated in the year 1919 from an airfield in the Langfuhr district of the Free City of Danzig (nowadays Wrzeszcz district of Gdansk). 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 Gdansk 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 Gdansk, 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 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 Gdansk airport served less than 2,000 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
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 (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 Gdansk 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 serve over 50 regular routes as well as charter and cargo flights.
Airlines and destinations
operated by Exin
operated by Aero Contractors
|Berlin-Schönefeld, Paris-Charles de Gaulle|
|TNT Airways||Katowice, Liège|
|Year||Passengers||Cargo (t)||Flight operations|
|2015 (May YTD)||1,316,711|
The following city bus lines connect the airport:
- to Gdańsk-Centre, (Orunia Gościnna), Route 210  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
A new railway, Pomorska Kolej Metropolitalna (PKM, the 'Pomeranian Metropolitan Railway'), will commence service on 1 September 2015, connecting 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 every 6 minutes to 30 minutes to 27 stations throughout the Tricity, and also trains to outlying towns such as Wejherowo, Lębork and Słupsk, 110 km west of Gdynia, and to Tczew, 31 km south of Gdańsk. Construction of the PKM is scheduled to be completed by 30 June 2015, and PKM service is scheduled to commence on 1 September 2015.
- EAD Basic
- Data from Poland's Office of Civil Aviation (Urząd Lotnictwa Cywilnego) Dead link
- L, J (26 May 2015). "airBaltic Adds New Intra-European Sectors from late-Oct 2015". Airline Route. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
- SKM Passenger Information, Map http://www.skm.pkp.pl/
- SKM Timetable ('Rozkład Jazdy'), http://www.skm.pkp.pl/
- PKM strona główna, http://www.pkm-sa.pl/glowna/
Media related to Gdańsk Lech Wałęsa Airport at Wikimedia Commons
- Official website (English) (Polish)
- Gdansk Airport Hotel
- Current weather for EPGD at NOAA/NWS
- Accident history for GDN at Aviation Safety Network