WARSAW, March 15 Polish government ministers
have recommended building a new centrally located hub airport
that would begin operations in about a decade, Infrastructure
Minister Andrzej Adamczyk said on Wednesday.
The airport would be located between Warsaw and the city of
Lodz. Experts have said its cost could reach 7 billion euros
($7.44 billion) and it would likely lead to the closure of
several existing airports in central Poland.
Adamczyk said the Government's Economic Council, which
consists of Deputy Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki as well as
Adamczyk and the energy, environment and labour ministers,
unanimously backed the plan, complete with road and rail links.
Such backing means it is very likely the plan will be
formally approved by the government of Poland, a country of 38
million people, despite criticism from Polish market leader
One of the main proponents of building the new air hub has
been Polish state airline LOT, which was saved from bankruptcy
in 2012 by public aid, having struggled to compete against
low-cost airlines such as Ryanair.
Ryanair, which has a roughly 30 percent share, warned
against building the new airport.
"They will waste too much money on it and will build a very
inefficient airport," Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary said earlier
this year comparing the idea to a similar one pursued by Berlin.
Berlin's new airport hub, initially due to opened in 2011,
has been beset by numerous technical problems. It has not been
opened yet and plans to launch it this year were scrapped in
The chief executive of LOT, which is a relatively small
carrier with fewer than 10 wide-body aircraft, has said Poland
needs the airport to become a regional transit hub.
"The construction of a central airport is a must from the
point of view of developing the Polish market and economic
development," LOT's Rafal Milczarski told Reuters last year.
Critics of the plan have said LOT lacks the financial
capacity and scale to make the project commercially viable.
Milczarski has said Warsaw's current Chopin airport should
be closed and the land sold to real-estate developers to help
finance the new airport.
($1 = 0.9414 euros)
(Reporting by Marcin Goettig; Editing by Alison Williams)