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Passenger Boom at Gdańsk Airport: Record Numbers, Ambitious Expansion Plans

TSLPassenger Boom at Gdańsk Airport: Record Numbers, Ambitious Expansion Plans

Last year was a record-breaking one for Gdańsk Airport. The airport served nearly 6 million passengers and carried out over 49,000 flight operations, while also seeing an increase in cargo movement. The port is striving to attract new carriers and expand its network of connections, which will help compensate for rising energy and gas prices. Investments made during the pandemic and lockdown-induced slowdown in air traffic are also aiding this effort.

“We rate last year highly. We broke records for passenger numbers. In the coming years, we will break more records. The development prospects for the airport in Gdańsk are very good,” says Tomasz Kloskowski, President of the Management Board of Gdańsk Lech Wałęsa Airport, in an interview with Newseria Biznes.

In 2023, Gdańsk airport served over 5.9 million passengers. This is 29% more than in the previous year, and almost 10% more than in the best year to date, 2019. The summer months saw record numbers, and the most passengers flew to London, Oslo, Stockholm, Warsaw, and Copenhagen. In irregular traffic, including charters, in 2023 the most – almost 200,000 passengers – chose flights to Turkey, with Greece, Bulgaria, and Egypt also popular. In total, over 49.5 thousand flight operations took place at Gdańsk airport, 12.5% more than the year before and 1.3% more than in the record-breaking 2019. Nearly 11.5 thousand tons of cargo were handled, representing an increase of 66.7% since 2019.

As the airport president emphasizes, good results are primarily due to investments made during the pandemic.

“We have no major investment plans for this year, as we invested heavily during the pandemic. While everyone else was wondering whether they would even exist, we invested because we believed that a crisis is a good time to make a forward leap, and we made that leap. Therefore, we are now just paying off the loans we took out for these expansions,” explains Tomasz Kloskowski.

In 2022, the construction of the western pier of the passenger terminal was completed. A system for automatic, self-service non-Schengen check-ins was made available to passengers. A project initiated before the pandemic, Airport City Gdańsk – an office city next to the airport – is also underway. The first of seven office buildings was put into use in 2022. These new investments are benefiting the entire region and the growing cities within it.

“The development of the Pomeranian region, Gdańsk, Gdynia, and Sopot would not be possible without the development of the airport. But conversely, the airport would not be able to develop without the development of the individual cities. It is a feedback loop, connected mechanisms. If we want our region to prosper, the airport must develop, and if we want the airport to grow, our region must develop,” notes the president of Gdańsk Airport.

In the coming months, Gdanśk Airport aims to expand its route network and attract new air carriers.

“We are fighting for Turkish Airlines to enter Gdańsk and open their connections to Istanbul. Each airport has different priorities for the coming years, but one goal is common – development, the opportunity for our passengers to fly to an increasing number of destinations,” points out Tomasz Kloskowski.

In 2024, the airport offers passengers 84 connections to 23 countries, a total of 69 airports, serviced by 10 airlines. In the fall, it might be possible to launch a connection to Dubai. Expanding the route network may help set another record – this year the number of passengers served is likely to exceed 6 million. This is significant, especially in light of rising energy and gas costs, which some airports use to heat passenger terminals.

“Price increases have occurred in all cost groups, which is why I feared the previous years, including last year. But the passengers helped us, they travelled more and more, which allowed us to compensate these rising costs with revenues. However, I make no secret of the fact that rising costs in all groups will be a challenge in the coming years, inflation is not yet under control,” evaluates Tomasz Kloskowski.

Gdańsk Airport received the Platinum Statuette Leader of Polish Business in the Business Centre Club contest. This award is for companies and entrepreneurs whose exceptional business achievements, high-quality products and services contribute to the development of the Polish economy.

“It is a great honor for me and the entire team, recognition for our hard work. Especially since it comes in a year when we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of our airport and 30 years of the managing company. It is the cherry on the cake,” says the president of Gdańsk Airport.

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