Gdansk Airport – our window to the world
Though Gdansk can easily be reached by train, car or coach, more and more people are deciding to go to the capital of Pomerania by plane. In this case, what they witness first is one of Gdansk’s iconic places – the modern Gdansk Lech Walesa Airport.
A bit of Gdansk’s aviation history
The current airport is a modern transport hub, being the second largest regional airport, and the third largest in the country (after Warsaw and Cracow). The first airport in Gdansk, however, dates back to the years just after World War I. Converted from what was originally a military air base, it began operating in 1919. Nowadays, no one would call it an “airport”. There were just a few buildings, with hangars added gradually. The location was different too, as the airport was situated in Wrzeszcz (Danzig-Langfuhr). The flight destinations included such cities as Moscow, Berlin, Lviv and Hamburg. After World War II, the network of destinations offered by the airport became much smaller, and focused on Polish cities. Today, this area is part of the Zaspa district. The remains of the original landing strip can still be seen in some places, and the last hangar that was left of the airport was converted into a shopping centre.
What’s interesting is that the airport functioned up until the mid-70s. However, its development and the growing number of destinations required the authorities to “move” the airport out of the sprawling city. 1971 saw the works on a new airport commence, with Rebiechowo, a place situated 14 km from Gdansk’s centre as its location. The first plane (from Wroclaw) landed there on 1 May 1974.
The present means development
In 2006, the airport reached a traffic milestone of one million passengers for the first time in history. It became obvious that given the dynamic increase in the number of destinations, a new terminal would have to be built – one that would be larger and more modern.
This was especially true since, in April 2007, it turned out that Gdansk would be one of the host cities of the UEFA Euro 2012. The new T2 terminal was finished at the beginning of 2012, and expanded in later years. It is equipped with a larger tarmac, as well as additional jetways and taxiways. We also saw the construction of the modern Pomeranian Metropolitan Railway in the meantime, connecting the airport with the heart of Gdansk. In 2017, the airport’s traffic reached 4.6 million passengers. Importantly, the Gdansk Lech Walesa Airport is equipped with a Category II ILS, soon to be upgraded to a Category III b ILS (before the end of this year), making it an airport with the most modern landing system in Poland, allowing planes to land in practically any weather.
Throughout its thousand-year history, Gdansk has never been so closely connected to Europe, with Airbaltic, Finnair, KLM, Lufthansa, Norwegian Air, LOT, Ryanair, SAS and Wizzair planes landing regularly at the city’s airport. Charter traffic is also steadily growing. In total, you can reach Gdansk from over 60 cities! Some carriers (low-cost airlines) offer excellent prices. Provided you buy the tickets in advance and on appropriate days, you might be able to fly to Gdansk for less than a hundred zlotys.
Most of the direct flights involve connections to and from cities in Great Britain (11), Norway (9) and Germany (5). Reykjavík and Tromsø are the northernmost destinations you can reach from Gdansk, extending to Eilat in Israel to the South, Lisbon to the West and Kharkiv to the East.
A detailed map of destinations can be found HERE.
How to reach the airport, and how to reach the city?
Buses to and from the airport operate on a regular and frequent basis. The route takes around 40 minutes, and a tickets cost PLN 3.20.
Sopot – Kamienny Potok SKM – Port Lotniczy Bus Route 122
Gdansk Dworzec Glowny PKP – Wrzeszcz PKP – Port Lotniczy: Bus Route N3
For more information, go to: www.ztm.gda.pl
Pomeranian Metropolitan Railway (SKM)
The Railway is certainly the best way to reach the city or the airport, taking around 25 minutes.
The SKM trains on the Gdansk-Wrzeszcz – Port Lotniczy – Gdynia Glowna route arrive every 30 minutes, while the trains on the Gdansk Glowny – Port Lotniczy – Kartuzy route and the Gdynia Glowna – Port Lotniczy – Koscierzyna route arrive every hour.
In SKM trains, the SKM kilometre tariff applies (also on journeys with an interchange at Wrzeszcz going towards Gdansk Srodmiescie or Sopot). Passengers can also purchase municipal zone tickets for Gdansk for PLN 3.50 (full-fare), allowing them to reach any SKM station in the city.
Tickets can be bought at the service points and vending machines found at the station or on the trains themselves.
The Pomeranian Metropolitan Railway station can be found directly by the T2 passenger terminal and is connected to it via a dedicated tunnel.
For more information, go to: skm.pkp.pl
If you value time and convenience, then a taxi is the best option to choose. The fare to Gdansk’s centre is about PLN 60, and the journey takes 20 minutes. It’s best that you pick a car which has a recommendation of the airport on it. That’s a guarantee of a fair price and good service.
Remember that you can also rent a car. There’s no shortage of car rental companies at the airport, which gives you a wide variety of vehicles to choose from.