During the 28th Economic Forum in Krynica representatives of the aviation industry discussed the “Potential directions of development of regional airports in Europe”.
The panel, moderated by Radosław Włoszek, a President of the Management Board of Kraków Airport, was attended by Léa Bodossian, the secretary general of Airport Regions Conference; Juraj Tóth – the Aviation Development Director at AviaDev, Artur Tomasik – the President of the Board of the Association of Regional Airports and the President of the board of Górnośląskie Towarzystwo Lotnicze SA; Mariusz Wiatrowski – the President of the board of Airport Poznań Ławica Sp. z o.o .; Tomasz Kądziołka – the President of the board of Airport Olsztyn – Mazury.
The development of the flight schedule at airports, including regional airports, is conducive to foreign investments. The dynamic development of regional airports observed in recent years has been possible thanks to sky policy and the liberalization of the European Union market. Currently, four hundred regional airports offer a total of 15,000 connections and serve almost 800 million travellers per year – this shows that air travel has become more accessible (also financially). Passengers eagerly set off on short trips (the so-called “city break”). In 2003, 2.5 million people used the services of Polish airports, whereas in 2017, the number went up to 25 million with 62% of the market belonging to regional airports.
The impact of air traffic on the surroundings of airports and the costs related to safety and security remain a major challenge. Other challenges include Brexit, growing competition among airports, achieving profitability in the case of a smaller scale of operations and lack of guarantee of financing the necessary infrastructure development. The discussion on the future of Polish regional airports also concerned the effect the Central Communication Port has on their future and the airport development strategies concerning the region in which it is located.