Cargo traffic at Poland’s airports

According to IATA’s data, in 2017 around 53.9 million tons of goods have been shipped by air. In Poland, a significant majority of air cargo traffic e.g. 92% is handled in Warsaw and Katowice. PLL LOT moves the most air cargo. In the 4th quarter of 2017 the carrier shipped over 9.4 thousand tons of goods, with Germany, USA and United Arab Emirates being the most popular destinations for air cargo traffic shipped from Poland. Poland’s air cargo traffic growth is being fueled by a robust economic growth, expanding infrastructure and an increasing use of wide-body aircraft in this market. Poland’s current share in European cargo transshipment at airports is 0.7%, and the country’s share in air shipping is 0.4%. These figures may well improve since cargo volumes being transshipped at Polish airports have been going up year-on-year, with a 11.7% growth in volumes being recorded in 2017 alone.

Warsaw’s Chopin Airport handles 80% of Poland’s cargo traffic

In 2017, like in the years before, the most air cargo, e.g. over 84 thousand tons, has been shipped to and from Warsaw’s Chopin Airport. The greatest quantitative increase of over 12.2 thousand tons (representing a 16.9% growth vs. 2016) has also been recorded at this location in 2016. This airport dominates in the air cargo traffic segment significantly more than in does in the air passenger traffic segment which has declined to just 38%. At the Chopin Airport, cargo is transshipped via a terminal building which has been in use since the 1990s and has undergone occasional upgrades. From among all the carriers who fly in and out of the Chopin Airport, LOT airlines handles the greatest share of air cargo shipments. The recent addition to its fleet of Dreamliner aircraft, with cargo holds capable of storing very large freight items, has enabled LOT to grow its air cargo capacity. In addition to being able to take 42 more passengers on board, the brand new and bigger Boeing 787 aircraft ordered by the carrier also boast 25% larger cargo holds.

The growth of e-commerce fuels air cargo traffic at the Katowice-Pyrzowice Airport

The Katowice-Pyrzowice Airport comes in second in terms of the overall air cargo tonnage being handled. This is Poland’s largest regional airport in the cargo segment with 15 thousand tons of air cargo having been transshipped there in 2017, representing a 2% decline versus the previous year. Nevertheless, in the first half of 2018, a total of 9339 tons of cargo have been customs cleared at this location, representing a 12.6% increase (+ 1047 tons) vs. that same time in 2017. This increase has been fueled by the global expansion of e-commerce which is coinciding with a growth in the amount of air cargo being transshipped at the Katowice-Pyrzowice airport. 2015 has seen this airport receiving the most significant upgrade to-date in the form of a new runway being added. 2016 has seen a new cargo terminal with a 12 thousand sq. meter surface area being developed along with an apron capable of accommodating two Boeing 757-200-sized aircraft. Currently a cargo apron is being expanded to the West by four additional cargo stands being built on 45 thousand sq. m tarmac capable of accommodating Airbus A320/ Boeing 737-sized aircraft. 2018 will see the expansion of the cargo apron to the East with four new cargo stands being added for aircraft with wingspans of up to 36 meters. In 2015, the airport handled 10.5 million passengers, has seen 100 thousand take offs and landings and has transshipped 50 thousand tons of air cargo. The Katowice-Pyrzowice airport is undergoing a second phase of development which is set to be completed by 2025.

New cargo terminal building at the Rzeszów-Jasionka Airport

A Waimea Cargo Terminal at the Rzeszów-Jasionka Airport has officially opened on the 12th of June 2018. This advanced facility located at the A4 motorway boasts 6700 sq. meters of surface area and will be able to handle from 15 to 20 thousand tons of freight per year. The multimodal facility is located on grounds adjacent to the Rzeszów-Jasionka International Airport and cost over PLN 30 M to build. It represents a very important milestone in the evolution of logistics in this region where transport routes leading to the East and the West of Europe cross. The terminal building will meet all the requirements essential to servicing air and road shipping in additional to creating ideal conditions for all kinds of logistics operations. Being a part of the Podkarpacie logistics hub, the Rzeszów-based airport is fully capable of handling all types of air cargo shipments, including ULD cargo handling aircraft and conventional cargo aircraft.

Cargo terminal buildings at other regional airports

The Gdańsk Airport has handled over 5 thousand tons of cargo in 2017, representing a 22% increase versus 2016. The other regional airports have each handled only several hundred tons of air cargo. The Kraków-Balice airport has seen 108 tons of air cargo transshipped – a drop by 97%. These Civil Aviation Authority statistics don’t take into account RFS (Road Feeder Service) shipments or the trucking of goods commissioned by airline carriers. Goods are trucked from so-called off-line airports to larger airport hubs. As part of this system, 7894 tons of cargo have passed through the Łódź Airport.

Central Transportation Hub to stimulate cargo shipping?

In line with the blueprint, Central Transportation Hub is to integrate air and rail transportation with a cohesive network of roads. The hub, located 40 km away from Warsaw, is to be built in Stanisławów (Baranowo Municipality), will span over 3000 hectares and is set to be completed by 2027. The CPK is to be linked with all of Poland’s largest urban centers, with initial travel times of up to 2.5 hours, and target travel times of up to 2 hours. The total cost of developing the hub is estimated to fall in the range of PLN 30.9 and 34.9 billion. The development is aiming to address Chopin Airport’s throughput problem and the fact the airport itself cannot be expanded. A cargo hub is a pivotal component of CPK’s creation.

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