Poland needs a new airport, located between Warsaw and Łódź, but accessible from all sides.
Income-Driven Demand for Air Travel. Analysis of GDP across Poland shows it is high for Mazovia and Upper Silesia plus Cracow province, whereas Łódź is not so affluent. Consequently, priority in easy access to new airport must go to Warsaw and nearby Łódź, but also to Katowice (Silesia) and Cracow regions, in the South.
Air/Rail Modal Split. Competition or Symbiosis? Success of high-speed (HS) railways generates ever more traffic and makes the train competitive against the airplane over distances of up to 500, or even 1000 km. As HS train stations are built under airports, competition can change into a symbiosis of Rail and Air, though terrorists will continue to threaten airliners above all.
EU Injections and Priorities. 20042006 allocation to Poland: €12.8bn. Only €1.5bn for transport, of which 25% for Road and 55% for Rail as the least energy-consuming and environment-polluting mode. Economists and EU statistics predict that by 2030 Poland will attain present GDP of West.
Could Backwardness Offer an Advantage? Poland is keen to catch up with the West, but should not so with its follies. Rather: turn retardation into an advantage by developing high-speed railways and building a brand-new airport fed by HS trains. A (potentially) high-speed railway from south crossing planned trans-European railway 36 km west of Warsaw plus east-west motorway under construction nearby, determine the location of the new airport.
An Interim Solution. Two existing railways, extending from Warsaw westwards at sharp angle, can branch off to an underground airport station, also providing transit to other destinations. Our diagrams show the proposed transport routes and airport approaches.
The International Dimension: East Europes Hub. HS railways from four sides and nearby A2 motorway, with contemplated great ring road around Warsaw, will make the airport accessible to passengers from major cities and conurbations of Poland and beyond, within a radius of 600 km (2-hour train ride, thanks to the flatness of Poland).
Funding. The airport is to be built by a consortium, to which the government might contribute the land. The existing railway infrastructure could remain state-owned, whereas the high-speed trains will be private. The new high-speed lines will be wholly owned by private companies.
Poland must set up a new central airport in the next 10 years. The present Warsaw airport, Okęcie, where a second terminal will be completed in 2006, is expected to reach its limit of 12m passengers per year in 2012.
Since Poland's capital Warsaw lies on the eastern fringe of Central Poland, the new airport must be situated to the west of it, to avoid a convergence of the resulting traffic upon the capital itself. The latter circumstance weighs a lot more in Poland than in other European countries because, in terms of population, the Warsaw conurbation compares to Poland as 1:18, in contrast to what may be seen as the European norm of 1:10.
In addition, only 120 km south-west of the capital, there is Poland's second biggest city, Łódź. For this reason alone, the airport should be located between the two cities. The proposed site is exactly one third of the distance from Warsaw and two thirds from Łódź.
However, the airport should be easily accessible also from other parts of the country, where local airports do not generate enough traffic to justify separate long-haul flights.