Katowice International Airport
Katowice International Airport, airport code KTW, provides international and domestic passenger service to southern Poland from its location at Katowice, Poland. The airport is among the busiest in Poland and continues to grow with more than 2.5 million passengers passing through its gates each year. This is more than double the passenger counts seen as recently as 2005.
The first air operations on the current site of the airport occurred during World War II when the German military built an airstrip there. The airstrip served as a stop for cargo aircraft carrying military supplies to German troops fighting the Russians on the Eastern Front. After the war, the airstrip served as a base of operations for the Soviet military and the Polish Air Force before being converted to civilian use in the 1960s and is not currently used by the military.
Katowice International Airport utilizes two terminals labeled alphabetically for passenger service. Terminal A serves passengers arriving or departing for destinations outside the borders of the Schengen Treaty. This treaty allows passengers from about 25 countries to cross international borders without going through customs. The Polish customs station at the airport operates around the clock. Terminal B provides passenger services to flights originating within the countries covered by the Schengen Treaty. Between the two terminals, the airport offers about 35 check-in counters, 14 gates and four baggage claim areas.
A third terminal is planned as part of the airports future expansion plans. The current two terminals have a combined capacity of about 3.6 million passengers but continue to see additional use. If current trends continue, the airport could exceed its capacity in a few years.
Travelers making connecting flights at Katowice International Airport should allow at least one hour if arriving by or departing by an international flight. Domestic travelers can make connections in as little as a half hour. Departing passengers should arrive at the airport at least one hour prior to flight time to allow for security checks and screenings. International departures may require an additional hour.
Katowice Airport Facilities
The airport operates a single runway of about 2,800 meters, or 9,000 feet, and accommodates about 30,000 take offs and landings each year. This runway is capable of handling an aircraft of the size of a lightly loaded Boeing 747. The runway is equipped with lighting and an instrument landing system. The airport operates around the clock with no noise restrictions noted. Additions to the runway to accommodate a fully loaded Boeing 747 aircraft are planned, although they have not been scheduled.
Cargo operations at the airport are handled at a single terminal with a stated capacity of 8,000 tons per year. Actual airfreight totals in 2008 exceeded 12,000 tons. Ground cargo facilities include secured storage and special storage for radioactive materials. Future plans include an upgrade to the cargo terminal and its related facilities.
The airport is in the process of establishing a buffer zone around the facility. The intent is to limit buildings, especially residential structures, in the area that is impacted by the noise generated by arriving and departing aircraft. Officials at the airport say this is the first initiative of this kind in Poland and is part of an overall environment program that includes upgrades to the airport sewer systems and operations intended to reduce fuel consumption.