Copernicus Airport Wrocław

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Location
51°06'33"N
016°52'49"E
Country
 Poland
Categories
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Description

Copernicus Airport Wrocław (Polish: Port Lotniczy Wrocław im. Mikołaja Kopernika, Port lotniczy Wrocław-Strachowice) (IATA: WRO, ICAO: EPWR) is an international commercial airport in Wrocław in Lower Silesian Voivodeship in southwestern Poland. The airport is located 10 km (6.2 mi) southwest of the city centre, at Graniczna street 190. It has one runway, one passenger terminal, one cargo terminal and one general aviation terminal. Wrocław airport is also often used by Polish Air Force and US Air Force.

History

Early years

The airport was built in 1938 as Flugplatz Breslau-Schöngarten Airport for German military purposes before World War II, when the city was still part of Germany. It was the site of a military aviation school, the Luftkriegsschule Breslau-Schöngarten, later renamed Luftkriegsschule 5. Among the Luftwaffe units stationed here just before the war were the Sturzkampfgeschwader 77, Kampfgeschwader 76, and Kampfgeschwader 1 "Hindenburg". It was operated briefly by Soviet forces following the war before being used for civilian purposes in 1945. Services were operated to Warsaw, Łódź, Poznań and Katowice. By 1992 destinations also included Kraków, Rzeszów, Gdańsk, Szczecin and Koszalin. 'Port Lotniczy Wrocław S. A.' was established as a company in January 1992 and Wrocław airport assets operated by the state-owned Polish Airports authority were transferred to the company in January 1993.The first international flights were inaugurated in January 1993, serving Frankfurt, Germany. Significant airport improvements have been completed in the late twentieth century. A new international departures terminal was opened in May 1997 followed by a new domestic terminal in November 1998.

Developments since the 2000s

A cargo terminal, international arrivals hall, and installation of a new meteorological system were completed in 1999; new fire station and apron extensions in 2000. A new air traffic control tower and duty-free area followed in 2001.On 6 December 2005, the airport was renamed after the famous astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus (in Polish: Mikołaj Kopernik), who in Wrocław studied and received a scholarship, and in the years 1503 - 1538 was a scholaster of the Wrocław Collegiate Holy Cross and St. Bartholomew on the Cathedral Island. The airport's new name is Copernicus Airport Wrocław (Port Lotniczy Wrocław im. Mikołaja Kopernika). Terminal extensions were officially opened on the same day, increasing the airport's capacity to 750,000 passengers per year. This capacity was quickly exceeded by several hundred thousand (in the first 9 months of 2007 the airport served 972,505 passengers) so the existing terminal space was expanded by 1,900 m2 (20,451 sq ft) to alleviate some of the congestion, but more importantly make the terminal facilities conform to the requirements of the Schengen Agreement, which was implemented at Poland's airports on 31 March 2008. On 19 July 2006, the architectural firm JSK was chosen to design a significant airport expansion. This includes plans for a new passenger terminal (eventually, after several stages of expansion, the airport will be able to handle 7 million passengers yearly) and assorted taxiway, apron and navigation equipment improvements (ILS). Also, car parking will be expanded to 1,000 spaces. The first stage, increasing the passenger capacity to 3.5 million yearly, officially opened on 29 February 2012. However, the new terminal opened to passengers on 11 March 2012. In May 2014, the HEMS (Helicopter Emergency Medical Service) base for the Polish Air Ambulance Service was launched at the airport. in 2015, Ryanair announced that it has selected Copernicus Airport Wrocław for its aircraft maintenance base. The construction of the hangar to fit 2 C-type aircraft (Boeing 737) was finished in June 2017. The airport has upgraded to ILS system from category I to category II in April 2016.Until it was reformed (30 June 2010), the 3rd Air Base also used the main runway of the airport, and currently the 8th Transport Aviation Base, whose barracks complex adjoins the airport. From 14 September 2020, the airport serves a regular cargo connection Wrocław - Cologne Bonn Airport carried out by ATR 72 plane by Swiftair for UPS. From 16 November 2021, there is a second connection on this route, carried out by Saab SF-340 plane by Airest.

Facilities

The airport operates modern domestic, international and cargo terminals. The international terminal contains a duty-free area in the international departures hall. The cargo terminal, located beside the airport fire station and air traffic control tower, has a storage area of 3,300 m2 (36,000 sq ft), a bonded warehouse, freezer and radioactive materials warehouse.

US Armed Forces Main Operating Base

Due to the existence of NATO garrisons nearby (Bolesławiec, Świętoszów, Żagań), in which US troops have been stationed as part of the Atlantic Resolve operation since January 2017, Wroclaw airport is very often used by US Air Force transport aircraft (inter alia Boeing C-17 Globemaster III, Lockheed C-130 Hercules, Lockheed C-5 Galaxy). On 23 September 2019, in New York, the presidents of the US and Poland signed a declaration on the deepening of defense cooperation, in which Wrocław Airport was designated as the headquarters of the US Army air transport base. The District Infrastructure Board from Wrocław in July 2020 announced a tender for the preparation of pre-project documentation regarding the preparation of infrastructure for the aerial port of debarkation (APOD). On 25 September 2020, a contract was signed with the winner of the tender, which has until 30 June 2021 to complete the task.

Airlines and destinations

The following airlines serve regular scheduled and charter services to and from Wrocław:

Statistics

Following are the official airport annual traffic figures.

Ground transportation

Bus and coach

The airport is served by two MPK Wrocław bus lines, which on their routes have many stops in the city. Line 106 (day) or 206 (night) connect to main railway station and main bus station, and line 129 through the estates Strachowice, Żerniki, Kuźniki, Gądów Mały, Popowice, Różanka, Karłowice, Poświętne with the northern part of the Psie Pole district, line also connects currently closest to airport railway station (Wrocław Żerniki). The journey takes approximately an hour.From December 2017 Polbus-PKS started an express bus called WRO Airport Express connecting the airport with Dominikański Square (near the Market Square) and the main bus station, which is located in the basement of the Wroclavia shopping mall (stand number 7). Flixbus on the route Szczecin-Zakopane also stops in the airport.

Car

The airport also is served by traditional taxi corporations, as well as Uber, Bolt, iTaxi. The airport offers nearly 4,000 parking spaces. There are car rentals at the airport.

Bike

There is also a bike path that leads to the airport.

Railway

There are future plans to build a railway line between the airport and Wrocław Główny railway station. A tunnel and a railway station have already been built under the main terminal.
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