Gdansk Lech Walesa Airport

Airport history

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Begining of airport in Gdansk

The first civilian airport in Gdansk was set up after World War I following the adaptation of the military airfield built in 1910 in the Wrzeszcz district of Gdansk, formerly known as Langfuhr. That airport was administered by the Senate of the Free City of Gdansk. Since that date the airport adapted its role and status and its dynamic expansion resulted in the acquisition of new areas and infrastructure changes.

In the 1920s Gdansk Lech Walesa Airport was transformed into an international airport, also servicing transit flights. It was used by aeroplanes flying in a variety of companies, including the German-Russian Airlines DERULUFT (Deutsch-Rusische Luftverkehrsgesellschaft), with flights between Berlin, Leningrad and Moscow.

The very favourable aviation conditions provided for by the airport in Gdansk enabled the launch of regular flights between Gdansk and Warsaw, Szczecin, Elblag, Malbork, Königsberg (now Kaliningrad), Olsztyn and Berlin.

The first Polish air service

The first regular Polish air service was launched on September 5th 1922. It was provided by the Aerolloyd company. It employed Junkers F-13 type planes with twice daily flights on the Gdansk-Warsaw-Lwow route.

In the years 1922-1939 Gdansk Airport was used by the Junkers F-13, Fokker-VII/1M, PWS-24, Lockheed L-10A "Electra", Lockheed L-14H "Super Electra", Douglas DC-2 and Junkers Ju-52 aircraft. The average number of passengers serviced illustrates the scope of the airport's activity at that time. Between 1929 and 1935 the airport handled approximately 1,500 passengers annually. After 1974, the airport in Gdansk-Wrzeszcz serviced flights that provided direct connections between Gdansk and Warsaw, Szczecin, Bydgoszcz, Krakow, Wroclaw, Katowice and Rzeszow.

Throughout this period the company gradually introduced new international flights. They were especially frequent in the summer season and serviced passengers flying to Copenhagen, Stockholm, Berlin, Budapest, Varna and Burgas. In addition, Gdansk maintained numerous charter connections with many international airports.

The first Polish airport

In response to the growing needs of this dynamically developing region the decision was taken to change the location of the airport from the city centre to an area with room for the growth of both Gdansk's aviation services as well as the Bay of Gdansk conurbation.

The first Polish airport built completely from scratch was launched on May 2nd 1974 in Gdansk-Rębiechowo. Located on the Wysoczyzna Kaszubska upland, 10 kilometres west of Gdansk and 23 kilometres south of Gdynia, and occupying 240 ha, it created significant market potential for the servicing of air transport. Alongside the political and industrial changes the airport changed, too.
From April 30th 1993, the Gdansk Lech Walesa Airport company was transformed into a profit-oriented commercial company with an organisational structure fully complying with those that govern business activity in European Union countries. The introduction of market principles in the Polish economy also influenced the last transformation of the infrastructure.

In order to raise the quality of the services provided and to meet the requirements of passengers and carriers, a new passenger terminal was built according to European standards. In the Millenium year when Gdansk celebrated its 1,000th anniversary, on August 4th 1997, the first passenger was cleared in the new terminal. Today, Gdansk Lech Walesa Airport is a part of the national, international and global transportation network. Being the third largest airport in Poland it serves as an auxiliary airport for Warsaw.