Thursday, May 28, 2009

Warsaw airport celebrating 75 years

The airport in the Okęcie neighborhood of Warsaw was officialy opened on April 29, 1934 by then president Ignacy Mościcki. After being moved from an airfield on Pole Mokotowskie the new airport comprised a terminal building with a concrete apron for planes, which had been taking-off and landing on a grass runway strip. The tower was guiding planes with a spotlight, like lighthouses do. The terminal building was situated in between two hangars. In 1934, the first year of operation, the airport served 10,750 passengers. Warsaw was connected via air with 6 domestic airports and 17 airports abroad. The furthest destinations included Tel-Aviv and Beirut.

Photo found on

The plans of launching trans-atlantic flights were restrained by the outbreak of World War II, during which the airport was destroyed completely. In 1947 the new terminal and ATC tower were completed, along with a concrete apron and a concrete runway. At the end of 1940s Warsaw had air links with Belgrade, Berlin, Bucarest, Brussels, Copenhagen, Prague and Stockholm.

Photo found on

The new international terminal was opened in 1969. Two years later marked the first million of passengers served. The growing passenger traffic in the following yeras caused the airport authorities to move domestic flights and international arrivals into other temporary buildings. The one for international arrivals has served until recently as a terminal "Etiuda" for low-cost carriers. While former domestic terminal is serving now as a terminal for private and corporate jets.

The current Terminal 1 was opened on July 1, 1992. It included a multi-storey parking garage and a web of access roads. A part of the building was dedicated for domestic air traffic. The first arrivals onto the new terminal were flights from Athens, Bangkok and New York.

In 2001 the airport commonly known as Okęcie, for the neighberhood it is located in, was officialy named after Polish composer Frederic Chopin, and 2008 saw opening of the new Terminal 2 building. The latter is a place of an ongoing exhibition on the history of the Warsaw airport. Last year the aiport served a total of 9,436,958 passengers.

See the official website of the airport

See the airport on Google Maps

An interesting article in Polish on pre-war airport in Warsaw

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