In 2021, we served a total of 3,072,074 passengers, i.e. less by 63% than in 2019.
“It was yet another very demanding year for Kraków Airport. The second year of the pandemic, a year of instability caused by a crisis that affected the entire tourist and aviation industries”, - said Radosław Włoszek, Head of the Board Krakow Airport.
We held our annual meeting with journalists to summarize the year 2021 and unveil our plans and indicate challenges that we will face in 2022. Kraków Airport's Management Board welcomed a special guest, Luis Felipe de Oliveira, Director General of ACI World.
A 2021 SUMMARY
The early year 2021 was exceptionally difficult for Kraków Airport. 33,046 passengers used our service in February 2021 which was by 94% less than in February 2019. However, we continued to pursue our "mission of reconstructing the connection network and safe return of passengers to Kraków Airport”. The following months saw an improvement, and the statistics indicating more than 400 thousand passengers monthly have boosted hopes for a better financial position of Kraków Airport. Passenger families filled the terminal again in the holiday season on their way to sunshine destinations.
The EU COVID certificate was introduced to facilitate travelling. Poland was among few countries that performed certificate tests a month in advance of its implementation on a European scale. At Kraków Airport, we encouraged to receive a vaccine against COVID both passengers, who thus could significantly improve their travel experience, and our staff who could participate in a vaccination programme.
Achievements and awards
Airports Council International World, having verified key health safety solutions implemented at Kraków Airport, extended its ACI Airport Health Accreditation to another year. The programme is focused on new rules of conduct set out by international aviation organizations, such as ICAO, EASA and ACI and imposed in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. The accreditation covers primarily measures aimed to contain the pandemic and prevent its spread in air transport, using among others suitable cleaning technology, disinfection, keeping distance between people, protecting airport staff, to effectively provide information about health safety rules and other amenities available to passengers, such as disinfectants available to the public in terminals.
Airports Council International World also presented Kraków Airport (as the first Polish airport) with an exceptional award: Best Airport by Size and Region (to a European airport up to 15 million passengers served annually). Airport Service Quality Awards are given to best world’s airports, considering assessments expressed by passengers. Airport Service Quality is the world’s leading programme aimed to measure traveller satisfaction, and the quality and standards of service at airports. ASQ is a measure of passenger satisfaction based on 34 key performance indicators that are defined to provide a comprehensive assessment of service level along the passenger path.
Connections at Kraków Airport
Like in 2019, passengers chose principally such destinations as Great Britain, Italy or Germany.
The principal carriers operating at Kraków Airport also proposed an impressive connection network.
In the summer of 2021, PLL LOT resumed its operation of much expected direct flights New York-Kraków-New York, after a 13-year interruption. That carrier also offered very popular flights to Tirana, Rhodes and Bydgoszcz.
Wizz Air operated flights to Split, Heraklion and Santorini. Ryanair offered such destinations as Corfu, Santorini and Billund.
The connection network in the 2021/2022 winter season was equally attractive with its direct connections labelled #flyKRK to Agadir, Ancona, Budapest, Lille, Newcastle, Riga, Stockholm and Turin. The French low-cost carrier Transavia launched flights to Paris Orly and Finnair with its destination from/to Helsinki resumed operation at Kraków Airport.
Capital expenditures at Kraków Airport
The apron extension project is being continued presently in the western section of John Paul II Kraków-Balice International Airport. The project is carried out by MAX BÖGL Polska at a cost of PLN 133.8 million and is aimed to improve the throughput capacity of the apron. The extension project includes the construction of 15 new stands suitable for servicing C-code aeroplanes, such as Boeing 737 or Airbus A320. Four of them (located in the southern section) can also be alternatively converted into two stands suitable for servicing wide-body airliners, such as Boeing 787 Dreamliner, operating transatlantic flights from Kraków Airport. All new paved airport surfaces will also be equipped with navigational lighting infrastructure: lights of taxiway centrelines and guidance lights to the parking stands. An advanced network designed for stormwater drainage and retention will be constructed under the apron, including a system of water quality control and monitoring. The principal objective of the apron extension project in the western section is to improve its aircraft throughput capacity.
Kraków Airport has implemented in 2021 a system of ABC (Automated Border Control) gates used to check-in passengers who travel to destinations outside the Schengen Area and hold a biometric ID document. A passenger is free to choose the type of check: either standard or automated. Five of the gates will be allocated to people who depart from our airport, and five to passengers arriving to Poland from outside the Schengen Area. The highest security level is achieved using state-of-the-art biometric techniques.
2022 PLANS AND CHALLENGES
2022 forecast passenger traffic
The pandemic taught us how to manage risks posed by unpredictable factors in the aviation industry and compile plans that must undergo sudden rapid verification in the face of new waves of the pandemic. The prospects for 2022 are still unstable due to the imminent Omicron wave; the entire aviation and tourist industries will make every effort to ensure that air travel is convenient and safe, with a uniform set of health safety rules.
New connections at Kraków Airport
Beginning in the 2022 summer season, Wizz Air will introduce a new #flyKRK direct connection to Dubai. That unique city located on the south coast of the Persian Gulf, famous for its wonders of modern architecture, can also be reached from Kraków Airport on board a flight operated by Flydubai. A new airline, Lübeck Air, will operate at Kraków Airport beginning on 15 April, offering a #flyKRK connection to German Lübeck. Direct flights will be operated twice a week, on Mondays and Fridays. Rynair plans to resume its Kraków-Nuremberg flights in the summer season of 2022.
Aviation market analysts estimate 2022 passenger traffic at Kraków Airport at 5,425,563 people.
Kraków Airport will host ACI Customer Experience Global Summit
The comfort and safety of passengers belong to our key priorities at Kraków Airport, and represent the primary focus of the ACI Customer Experience Global Summit. The entire international aviation industry will attend the three-day Customer Experience Global Summit in Kraków in September 2022. Kraków Airport will host that prestigious conference. The COVID-19 pandemic led to stagnation in the aviation industry and forced us to modify our approach to safety and customer service standards. Motivated by our motto “We are aviation”, we were encouraged to engage in joint efforts, such as the participation of numerous airports operating in and outside Europe in the ACI Airport Health Accreditation programme.
We will welcome representatives of a number of airports in Kraków to discuss with them innovative solutions in customer services.
2022 capital expenditures
A new runway is the key capital expenditure included in the Kraków Airport’s Master Plan, and is much expected both by civil and military users. It is of crucial importance for ensuring airport’s operational continuity. All participants in the procedure aimed to construct a new runway are now being waiting for the required formal legal decisions. The final environmental decision in the matter of project is the most important expected document at present. Once this phase is finalized, further design steps will be be taken. All required permits have been formally obtained for the cargo terminal and all other planned capital expenditures at the airport. Kraków Airport initiated a tender process aimed to select a contractor, but all steps were postponed until 2022 due to the pandemic.