John Paul II International Airport Kraków-Balice (Polish: Kraków Airport im. Jana Pawła II since 4 September 2007; earlier in Polish: Międzynarodowy Port Lotniczy im. Jana Pawła II Kraków-Balice) (IATA: KRK, ICAO: EPKK) is an international airport located near Kraków, in the village of Balice, 11 km (6.8 mi) west of the city centre, in southern Poland.
History and present circumstances
The airport opened for civil aviation in 1964.
Kraków Airport is the second busiest airport in the country after Warsaw Frederic Chopin Airport. The airport has good growth prospects, as almost 8 million people live within 100 km (62 mi) of it. The airport also has a favourable location on the network of existing and planned motorways in this region of Poland, but it faces stiff competition from the nearby Katowice International Airport in Pyrzowice and other Polish airports.
In 1995 the airport's name was changed from Kraków-Balice Airport to John Paul II International Airport Kraków-Balice, to honor Pope John Paul II who spent many years of his life in Kraków. For marketing reasons, the official name was further "streamlined" on 4 September 2007 as Kraków Airport im. Jana Pawła II.
In 2003, when Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair became interested in starting a service from the John Paul II International Airport, the airport authorities refused to reduce the airport fee. In response, the regional authorities of Kraków and Lesser Poland Voivodeship decided to build a new airport near the existing one, using the infrastructure of the military airbase adjacent to the shared runway. Finally an agreement was reached, and the existing airport was opened to Ryanair and other low-cost carriers such as Germanwings, EasyJet and Centralwings.
On 1 March 2007, a separate domestic terminal (T2) was opened. Plans are underway to begin construction of a terminal expansion adjacent to the existing International Terminal (T1).
The main terminal building (T1) is currently being expanded to cater to the growth in passengers the airport has experienced in the last two years. The terminal is being extended towards the apron, with five jet ways being added and separate facilities prepared for Schengen and non-Schengen passengers.
Construction of a seven storey car-park opposite T1 is currently concluding. The parking structure will become fully operational in May 2010. It is also expected that the railway line will ultimately reach the terminal building, rather than the current temporary stop 250 m (820 ft) from terminal T1.
Airlines and destinations
Figures in Millions
Over the past number of years low cost carrier Ryanair have grown services from Krakow Airport and from May 2010 Ryanair will have 20 routes from the airport.
The busiest international routes are to London (Gatwick, Stansted, Luton) and Dublin.
In addition to road access by private car or taxi, other options are:
The airport has one concrete runway, number 07/25, 2550 x 60 m. Runway 07 is open for landing only between sunrise and sunset.
On 28 August 2007, a Ryanair flight from Shannon suffered a bird strike on its final approch and blew its front tires during landing, resulting in an airport closure for a few hours and requiring an emergency evacuation of the aircraft. There were no injuries and the aircraft sustained no further damage.
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The content above was published at Airports-Worldwide.com in 2010.
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