During the ninth month of 2021, 396,966 passengers – 199,255 more (+100.8%) than last year – travelled on regular and charter flights to/from Katowice Wojciech Korfanty Airport. 158,477 travellers – 56,244 more (+55.0%) than in September 2020 – were handled on regular flights. On charter routes, i.e. those handled for travel agencies, 237,738 persons – 142,823 more (+150.5%) in comparison with September 2020 – were noted. During the ninth month of 2021, 4,171 take-offs and landings took place, i.e. 1 289 (+44.7%) more than in 2020.
Considerable traffic improvement during summer
September marked the end of the holiday season at Katowice Wojciech Korfanty Airport; traditionally, it is also the time when passenger traffic peaks. From July to the end of September, 1,309,541 passengers – 686,652 more (+110.2%) than last year – were handled at Katowice Airport. 517,238 persons – 147,514 more (+39.9%) in comparison with 2020 – travelled on regular flights. During the third quarter of 2021, the following routes were the most popular: Dortmund (54.8k passengers), London-Luton (28.8k), Burgas (26.6k), Athens (21.6k) and London-Stansted (17.4k). 789,247 passengers – 537,323 more (+213.3%) than last year – travelled via the Katowice Airport charter network. From July to the end of September, passengers most often travelled on the following charter routes: Antalya (155.6k persons), Rhodes (52.0k), Hurghada (47.6k), Heraklion (45.8k) and Zakynthos (45.5k). During the third quarter of 2021, 12,252 take-offs and landings took place at the airport, i.e. 3,914 more (46.9%) than last year.
“The first half of 2021 was very hard for Polish airports, Katowice Airport not being an exception. It goes without saying that it was the most difficult time since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020 and, consequently, the beginning of the biggest crisis in the history of aviation. From January to June, we handled only 421k passengers. Thankfully, a considerable improvement in the area of passenger traffic took place during the third quarter of 2021. Traffic recovered to 70% of the pre-pandemic third quarter of 2019, when we handled 1.88 million travelers,” said Artur Tomasik, President of the Management Board of Górnośląskie Towarzystwo Lotnicze SA (GTL SA), the company managing Katowice Airport.
Summary of first nine months of 2021
During the first nine months of 2021, 1,730,812 passengers – 447,657 more (+34.9%) than last year – were handled at Katowice Airport. From January to the end of September, 628 677 persons travelled via the regular flights network, i.e. 275 007 fewer (-30.4%) than last year. 1 094 393 travellers – 731 749 more (+201.8%) in comparison with the same time period last year – flew on charter flights. From January to the end of September, 20 651 take-offs and landings – 2 963 more (+16.7%) than last year – took place.
“In the last couple of months, passenger traffic at Katowice Airport has been recovering thanks to charter flights. After nine months of 2019, flights handled for travel agencies constituted 45% of passenger traffic at Katowice Airport; during the same time period in 2021, the result was 64%. Moreover, since the beginning of the year, the average charter flight frequency was approx. 160 passengers; in case of regular traffic, it was a little over 110 persons. When it comes to the last quarter of 2021, we estimate that 600-700k passengers will be handled; resultantly, we will conclude 2021 with 2.3-2.4m passengers handled. It is, of course, a forecast based on the assumption that additional coronavirus restrictions related to passenger traffic will not be introduced by the end of the year,” said Artur Tomasik, CEO of GTL SA.
Katowice Airport is among the biggest regional airports in Poland. In 2019, record breaking 4.84 million passengers used its flights network; 2 million of them travelled on charter flights. The forecast for 2020 assumed that 5.5 million travellers would be handled. Ultimately, due to the coronavirus pandemic, 1.44 million passengers travelled to/from Katowice Airport last year. The airport is the country leader in the area of charter traffic and the regional leader in the area of cargo traffic.