By Will Lee
South Korea Invests in Poland’s New Airport
The global passenger volume has been significantly decreased since the start of the pandemic, but the aviation industry hasn’t ceased to its infrastructure. Polish government has announced that it will build a new airport in Warsaw, the capital of the country. In addition, Seoul, South Korea’s Incheon International Airport Corporation (IIAC) will invest in the new airport project in Poland.
The new airport is the part of Central Transportation Port (CPK) project. According to local media, CPK is the biggest infrastructure investment in the country. The CPK will consist of airport and railway facilities. The new airport will be located in central Poland, 45 kilometers southwest of Warsaw, Poland and will cost about 7.4 billion euros ($8.346 billion).
Mateusz Morawiecki, Prime Minister of Polish said, “the project is a combination of ambition, experience and potential.”
The new airport will cover 3,000 hectares and is expected to be completed by the end of 2027, handling 45 million passengers every year in the first phase, but its capacity could reach 100 million in the future.
Warsaw owns Chopin Airport, which already hit its maximum capacity and will be replaced by the new airport. The 87 years old airport is located 10 kilometers southwest of Warsaw, Poland and has handled almost 19 million passengers in 2019. As a result of the pandemic, the passenger capacity has dropped to 5.5 million in 2020. The top five destinations from Warsaw’s Chopin Airport are Kyiv, Ukraine; London, Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam.
Warsaw’s Chopin Airport is best known for the hub for LOT Polish Airlines. According to the airport, Wizz Air has expanded its route map at Chopin in recent years. The Polish government believed CPK will be a huge development boost for the country and benefit South Korea.
Marcin Horala, the commissioner for CPK, said, “The agreement is a very important milestone in this cooperation, which will ultimately lead to a strategic partnership, participation in the newly-built terminal and co-management of its air travel section, but first (investment – PAP) in its construction,” in a press conference for the agreement between two parties. The new hub could be “the Far East’s gateway to the European Union.”
Under the agreement, IIAC will invest the CPK project and participate to build and co-manage the air travel section. Since 2007, IIAC has started its Business Overseas Team to serve foreign airports, such as Russia, India, the Philippines, Indonesia and Turkey. Kuwait International Airport’s consignment operation is one of the IIAC ongoing projects.
The aviation industry in Poland has experienced turbulence during the pandemic. In 2019, LOT Polish Airlines made history to carry over 10 million passengers in a single year and post a profit of 15 million Euros. However, the flag carrier hasn’t done better than its competitors amid the pandemic, taking 3.1 million passengers to the skies in 2020 and posting a loss of 227 million euros. In the wake of the pandemic, the struggling airline needed to lay off its staff and received financial help from the government.