The Civil Aviation Office recently announced that the aviation sector in Poland is marked by constant and remarkable growth.Polish airports have already served 8.586 mln international and domestic passengers this year, increasing by about 27 percent from the same time period in 2006. During the first months of 2007 half of Poland’s passengers used Warszawa-Okecie Airport (4.197 mln air travelers). The rest were served by regional airports, indicating acceleration in their development. During the same period in 2006, regional airports served 27.8 percent of all international and domestic passengers; in 2007 it’s already been 51.2 percent. The number of passengers served by regional airports in the last 3 years has already doubled.Second place, after Warszawa-Okecie, is occupied by principal regional Krakow-Balice Airport. It has set a new record with 1.408 mln passengers, resulting in a 43 percent growth in comparison with the analogous period last year. Katowice-Pyrzowice Airport ? Krakow’s rival during the last few years ? served 794,000 passengers. Forecasters predicted that by the end of this year about 3 mln passengers would travel through Krakow-Balice, though according to the published data, this number will probably be even higher. The highest air-traffic growth was noted in Wroclaw-Strachowice ? 75 percent increase (593,000 passengers) and Gdansk-Rebiechow ? 45 percent increase (773,000 passengers). Small airports also received a remarkable increase: Rzeszow-Jasionka, Szczecin-Goleniow, Bydgosz-Szwederowo, Zielona Gora-Babimost and Lodz-Lubinek. The favorite is Lodz-Lubinek with a 63 percent increase. These airports have started to fulfill their great potential and are profiting from the surge in traffic.Poland continues to show a steady year on year growth. Increases in tourism, business traffic, fundamental increases in Polish earnings and, above all, the establishment of open skies all indicate that the trend will continue. The last few years have shown that development in the Polish aviation sector has already surpassed the European average, currently being among the highest in the world. In contrast, European air-traffic has increased by only 4.9 percent during the first part of 2007, and cumulative world air-traffic by 6.9 percent.The surge has drawn attention to serious problems that the Polish aviation sector has to deal with. Several improvements should be implemented to sustain this tremendous growth. The airports need investment for the modernization of infrastructure, especially for enlarging terminals and raising their capacity. At Krakow-Balice airport, passengers learn to be patient waiting in the long lines. Warsaw is still waiting for its second terminal, which should have been open a few months ago. It seems development of Polish airports is becoming essential to regional economies.
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