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A new expansion plan is being developed for Warsaw’s Chopin Airport

INFRASTRUCTUREA new expansion plan is being developed for Warsaw's Chopin Airport

“Today, we are designing an airport in Baranow, preparing for the investment, including the construction of high-speed railways. Contrary to what our critics say, no work has been halted; it is simply being made more realistic,” says Maciej Lasek, the government’s plenipotentiary for the Central Communication Port (CPK). The schedule for launching the new airport requires the most realism, with experts from Polish Airports estimating that it will not be operational until 2035. Until then, the efficient operation of Chopin Airport is necessary, prompting Polish Airports to announce an expansion that will improve the throughput of the Warsaw airport hub. Investments planned for the next five years, although intended to serve until the launch of CPK and the closure of Okecie Airport, are still expected to generate profit.

“There are no losses, only profits. If we did not complete the modernization of Chopin Airport, we would face only losses because we would not have the necessary throughput and development opportunities for LOT Polish Airlines by the time the new central airport is handed over. If we neglected this, as our predecessors did, we would wake up next year or in two years with a completely congested airport. Therefore, we must complete this modernization today. We have calculated this, the companies working on it, and the company’s employees have estimated the costs; it adds up, and by 2035 we will be able to generate a profit from this investment,” says Maciej Lasek to Newseria Biznes.

Originally, Chopin Airport was supposed to cease operations in 2028 with the opening of the new port in Baranow. However, representatives of the Warsaw airport emphasize that there was no plan to secure airport infrastructure until the actual start of CPK, which is now projected for the autumn of 2032. According to PPL experts, a realistic start date for the new airport’s operation is 2035.

“According to plans for the coming years, the capacity of the modernized Chopin Airport will end in 2032, 2033, maybe 2035. We assume that the airport will operate in its current form until 2035. Looking at all the traffic forecasts—although, of course, these forecasts can change as many factors influence them—we need to ensure new throughput, meaning new development opportunities,” assesses the government’s plenipotentiary for the CPK.

According to forecasts, Chopin Airport will handle 20.5 million passengers this year, about 10% more than last year, setting a record in its 90-year history. The planned modernization of Mazovian airports aims to handle nearly 40 million passengers annually. Polish Airports, celebrating Chopin Airport’s 90th birthday, presented investment plans for the coming years. Announcements include increasing the number of gates in the Schengen zone (by extending the south pier towards the former Etiuda terminal) and non-Schengen zones, rebuilding the north pier, adding a new baggage sorting processor, and creating a new parking apron for six Code C aircraft. Preparations are underway to launch the tender process. There is also a plan to purchase new equipment for scanning carry-on luggage to increase the throughput of security checkpoints.

The update to the current concept is expected to be ready by the end of this year, with design work starting in the first half of 2025 and construction work the following year. According to PPL calculations, the investments should be completed by 2029, with full amortization occurring in 2035 when the additional generated profit would reach 900 thousand PLN.

“If we open the airport in Baranow, Chopin Airport, to my great regret, will have to be closed, as we cannot repeat situations that have occurred around the world, such as in Montreal, where a new airport, Mirabel, was built a great distance from the city without closing the urban airport. Today, that distant airport is probably currently grazing sheep and no aviation operations are being carried out. So Chopin, as long as there is no Baranow, and then Baranow,” says Maciej Lasek.

He emphasizes that work is ongoing to make the Baranow airport project realistic and preparations for this investment are in progress.

“A substitute scenario, which I would call cooperation between Chopin Airport and Modlin Airport, is certainly possible. This is a completely different approach, though it will only operate for at least the next eight years, just so that we can prepare this passenger potential for the new central airport. There is also the possibility of further expansion of Modlin Airport, but then traffic would have to be divided between Chopin Airport and a somewhat more developed Modlin Airport. This is not an optimal solution, although if we looked globally, we would need to see how much such an expansion would consume in terms of resources and how much profit the construction of a new central airport in Baranow

would bring,” says the government’s plenipotentiary for the CPK. “Today we are designing the airport in Baranow, preparing for the investment, the construction of high-speed railways that will pass through the area where the Baranow airport is planned. Therefore, contrary to what our critics say, no work has been halted, it is only being made realistic.

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