Balice: New airport terminal to open

Are the crowd problems at Balice finally over? A new terminal equipped with 15 new check-ins and 5 new security-control points should be opened in two weeks, airport authorities announced. The construction of the terminal officially ended on Monday.
?This allows us to double our capacity and ensures a higher level of service,? spokesman at the John Paul II-Balice Airport Piotr Pietrzak said. Until now, only 19 check-in points served travelers at the airport.
The new terminal will only serve passengers flying to or from signatory states of the Schengen Agreement. The Schengen Agreement was signed in 1985 to harmonize external border controls among participating nations. A total of 30 states have signed the agreement, mostly EU members, although three non-EU nations also participate — Norway, Iceland and Switzerland. Fifteen nations have implemented the agreement thus far.
The Schengen Agreement is expected to come into force in Poland in April 2008. In the interim, the terminal will be used for passengers of cheap airlines. The terminal was especially built to meet the requirements of the Schengen Agreement. The total cost of construction was 36 mln zloty.
The Balice airport is in definite need of enlargement. Each year, the number of tourists traveling to Krakow increases. In the first week of May, the number of passengers at the existing terminal was so large that they were kept waiting in long check-in lines twice as long as usual.
But the enlargement of the airport should not end with the new terminal. The airport still needs to develop its runway, which will only be possible if the Army Property Agency — owner of the surrounding area ? turns the land over to the airport. Balice authorities have attempted unsuccessfully to acquire the property for years.

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