The Upper Silesian Aviation Group (GTL SA) summarized passenger traffic and on-going investments in 2021 at Katowice Wojciech Korfanty International Airport in Pyrzowice.
During twelve months of 2021, 2,328,973 passengers, 883,192 more (+61.1%) than in 2020, were handled at Katowice Airport. The last year's result consitutes 48 per cent of the record-breaking, pre-pandemic 2019, when 4 843 889 passengers travelled to/from Katowice Airport.
1,022,024 travellers, 31,037 more (+3.1%) than in 2020, were handled on regular flights offered at Katowice Airport by Wizz Air, Ryanair, LOT Polish Airlines and Lufthansa. The most popular regular routes last year: Dortmund (143.1 thousand passengers), London-Luton (67.4 thousand), London-Stansted (43.9 thousand), Warsaw (38.1 thousand) and Cologne-Bonn (37.5 thousand). The five most popular countries when it comes to regular flights: Germany (200 thousand passengers), the United Kingdom (171.7 thousand), Italy (109 thousand), Greece (84.2 thousand) and Ukraine (63.1 thousand).
1,293,612 travellers were handled on charter flights, i.e. 864,666 more (+201.6%) than last year. Passengers most often travelled from Katowice Airport to: Antalya (246.7 thousand passengers), Hurghada (118.0 thousand), Marsa Alam (92.7 thousand), Rhodes (69.1 thousand) and Heraklion (63.0 thousand). The five most popular charter countries in 2021: Turkey (326 thousand passengers), Greece (310 thousand), Egypt (235 thousand), Spain (127 thousand) and Bulgaria (62 thousand).
Last year confirmed the significance of charter traffic. This segment of traffic recovered faster than regular flights; it was also less prone to continuous changes within sanitary regulations. At over 55 per cent, charter traffic in 2021 achieved the higest share in the total number of handled passengers Charters also recorded better average fill rates compared to regular flights. In case of the first segment, the average number of passengers on board was 160, and in case of regular flights 110.
In 2021, there were 28 856 aircraft take-offs and landings, i.e. 6 934 more (+31.6%) than in 2020.
Development of infrustructure
In spite of the difficult industry situation, GTL SA did not lose its ability to develop the Katowice Airport infrastructure. The most important investment in 2021 was the expansion of passenger terminal B. The project began in September 2019, and the pandemic did not affect its realization. A basically new terminal was put into service in August 2021. Thanks to this investment, which was worth over PLN 100 million, the throughput of passenger terminal infrastructure at Katowice Airport increased from 6 to 8 million passengers yearly. Moreover, GTL SA continued the expansion of the aircraft maintenance base in 2021; the project is divided into two tasks. The first comprises the construction of a 6.4 hectares aircraft apron with nine stands for C-Class aircraft (Airbus A320/Boeing 737) in front of hangars. Construction works are basically over and the new surface will be put into service in spring 2022. The second task consists of building a third hangar with an area of 9.2 thousand m2 with two bays for serving aircraft the size of an Airbus A321neo; it began in the first quarter of 2021. The investment will end in mid-2022. Wizz Air will be the lessee of the hangar.
"The Upper Silesian Aviation Group is building a multi-functional airport which has infrastructure meant not only for passenger traffic, but also for cargo, as well as for for aircraft maintenance. By carrying out investment projects in the very difficult 2021, we proved that GTL SA is a healthy organization with strong financial fundamentals and potential for further growth. I am certain that the investments we're realizing right now will make Katowice Airport stronger after the pandemic ends," said Artur Tomasik, President of the Board of GTL SA.
Katowice Airport is among the biggest regional airports in Poland. In 2019, record-breaking 4.84 million passengers travelled via its network; 2 million of them flew on charter flights. The coronavirus pandemic resulted in the biggest crisis in the history of the aviation industry; it slowed down the forecast growth of passenger traffic. In 2020, 1.44 million passengers travelled to/from the airport, and 2.32 million in 2021. Katowice Wojciech Korfanty Airport is the country leader in the area of charter traffic, and the regional leader in the area of cargo traffic.