Global air carriers meet in Warsaw to debate new, major Solidarity Airport

The inaugural meeting of the Airport Consultative Committee, established by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the Solidarity Transport Hub Poland, was held in mid-June. Airlines representatives came to Warsaw to get to know plans of the new airport in Central Europe.

The meeting of the Airport Consultative Committee (ACC), organised by the Solidarity Transport Hub Poland, was attended by representatives of LOT Polish Airlines, El Al, Emirates, Enter Air, Qatar Airways, SAS and Wizz Air as well as aviation groups from IAG (including British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus, Level and Vueling). The Lufthansa Group (and associates Swiss, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines and Eurowings) were also present.

The meeting was attended by representatives of the Star Alliance, which includes airlines such as Air China, Singapore Airlines, United Airlines, Turkish Airlines and South African Airways. Representatives of the IATA, the Polish Air Navigation Services Agency, Board of Airlines Representatives in Poland (BARIP) and courier companies such as DHL and FedEx also took part in the talks.

ACC participants were familiarised with the initial concept of Solidarity Airport. The aim of the ACC is to verify the conceptual assumptions of the investment, review strategic options, assess operational and passenger impacts, and provide ideas that lead to better informed decision-making. The point is that the planned solutions – technical, operational and financial – should be in line with the expectations and needs of carriers.

“To plan an airport which meets the expectations of future travellers and airport users, it is imperative that consultation with carriers and companies both operating and providing services to the port is the first step. It is for that reason we are pleased about the high turnout and the interest of airline representatives” says Mikołaj Wild, Government Plenipotentiary for the STH Poland. “Today’s ACC is only the first of a planned series of meetings. There are indications that the number of individuals interested and participants of the next meetings will be even greater” he predicts.

“We welcome Poland’s STH initiative, and we are very pleased to be working closely on this key project for transport in Europe. With European demand for travel set to grow by around 50% by 2037 it is crucial that new infrastructure being planned is ready. Today’s ACC meeting in Warsaw shows that we are aware of predicted lack of capacity in Europe and are working on solutions that passenger’s need” says Anca Apahidean, Area Manager Eastern Europe at IATA.

“Meetings with experts attending the ACC are a great opportunity to talk about the needs of carriers in terms of a broadly defined airport infrastructure – including requirements for passenger terminals, aprons and cargo infrastructure. In this way, we consistently build a knowledge base that will help us prepare a master plan of Solidarity Airport” says Dariusz Sawicki, STH board member for the airport investment part.

ACC participants will be in regular contact with one another via teleconferences and electronic correspondence. The assumption is that plenary meetings, similar to today’s, will usually take place between two and four times per year. On each occasion, the host will be the STH Poland i.e. the main investor of the planned airport.

Consultative Committees at the IATA took place for major investment projects, including airports in Bangkok, Beijing Daxing, Hong Kong International, London Heathrow, Kuala Lumpur, Manchester, Paris Charles de Gaulle and Stockholm Arlanda.

ACC meetings are another step in consultation with partners of the STH. In mid-April, the STH Poland began the process of strategic reconciliation with business partners. The inaugural meeting was attended by over 60 representatives from companies such as LOT Polish Airlines, Polish Air Navigation Services, Poczta Polska, Orlen, LOTOS, LOT AMS, LS Airport Services, PHH, FedEx, DHL, UPS and TNT Express.

The investor, the STH Poland, familiarised the aforementioned stakeholders with the planned stages of the investment, presented a working block diagram of the project’s implementation and the establishment of the STH regarding the formula and scope of cooperation. Thanks to these consultations, the company received almost five hundred comments and proposals regarding the infrastructure of the planned airport including aircraft, passenger, baggage, cargo, technical support etc.

This year, the STH Poland plans to appoint a strategic and technical advisor, an international entity with investment experience in the design, construction and management of hubs. In the coming months, the STH will also commission a master plan for Solidarity Airport. It will include air traffic forecasts, dimensioning the planned infrastructure and the initial plan for its location, the construction stage and a detailed business model for the new airport.


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