Warsaw Frederic Chopin Airport

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Warsaw Chopin Airport (Polish: Lotnisko Chopina w Warszawie) (IATA: WAW, ICAO: EPWA) is an international airport located in the Włochy district of Warsaw, Poland. Poland's busiest airport, Warsaw Chopin handles just under 50% of the country's air passenger traffic.

Formerly Warsaw-Okecie Airport (Port lotniczy Warszawa-Okęcie) or Okecie International Airport, the airport bore the name of its Okęcie neighborhood throughout its history, until its renaming for Polish composer and former Warsaw resident Frédéric Chopin in 2001. Despite the official change, "Okecie" ("Lotnisko Okęcie") remains in popular and industry use, including air traffic and aerodrome references.

Warsaw Chopin handles approximately 300 scheduled flights daily and an ever rising number of charters. London, Frankfurt, Paris, and Amsterdam are the busiest international connections, while Kraków, Wrocław, and Gdańsk are the most popular domestic ones.


In 1924, when urban development around Warsaw's aerodrome at Mokotów Fields (Pole Mokotowskie) began affecting air traffic, the Ministry of Railways purchased land near the village of Okęcie to construct a new airport. In 1933, The Central Airport (Okęcie) took over the handling of all traffic from the Pole Mokotowskie. During World War II, Okęcie was often used as a battleground between the German Army and Polish resistance and was practically destroyed. After liberation, LOT Polish Airlines resumed operations at Okęcie, using pre-war infrastructure. In 1956, maintenance of Okęcie was transferred from LOT Polish Airlines to state administration. In 1969 a new international terminal was built to handle 1 million passengers annually, few years later a separate, temporary arrival hall was built. Meanwhile, domestic flights continued to operate from the facilities built on the site of the pre-war terminal.In 1979 a new arrivals hall, the so-called ‘Finnish Hall’ opened. In 1992, a new terminal (T1), with capacity for 3.5 million passengers per year, was built to replace the ageing complex from the communist era. In March 2001, Warsaw Airport was renamed in honour of the Polish pianist Frédéric Chopin (though this name is almost never used in practice, and most users know the place simply as Okęcie). In 2005, the old arrival hall from 70s was refurbished and reopened, and under the name "Etiuda" became a temporary terminal for low-cost traffic. Since 2007 the T2, a newly built terminal adjacent to T1, has been gradually taking over the major part of the traffic. In March 2009 the Etiuda terminal was closed and low-cost carriers moved to T1.


Southern hall (check-in areas A and B, former Terminal 1) was built in 1992. Initially it handled all the traffic, but now it is serving mainly low-cost airlines (since the closing of Etiuda Terminal in March, 2009) and some other carriers (mainly SkyTeam alliance members).

Northern hall (check-in areas C, D and E, former Terminal 2) is a new terminal which became fully operational on March 12, 2008, two years after the originally planned opening date. The arrivals area was in operation from mid-2007 but problems with safety certification and disagreements between the airport and the construction firm delayed full operation. The new terminal is considerably larger than the older Terminal 1 and has taken over departures for all Star Alliance and OneWorld airlines and a few other carriers.

In 2010, the designation of terminals has changed and the entire T1+T2 complex is currently designed as 'Terminal A' divided into five check-in areas (A, B, C, D, E). The complex contains 45 passenger gates, that contains 27 airbridges.

By 2015, the southern hall will have been redesigned, reconstructed and fully integrated into the 'Terminal A' complex.

Airlines and destinations
Seasonal charters
Cargo airlines

Passenger traffic in the period 1995-2010, from the airport's official webpage:

  • 1994 - 2,198,008
  • 1995 - 2,735,469
  • 1996 - 3,090,321
  • 1997 - 3,484,452
  • 1998 - 3,815,624
  • 1999 - 3,997,531
  • 2000 - 4,325,814
  • 2001 - 4,713,655
  • 2002 - 4,936,835
  • 2003 - 5,166,991
  • 2004 - 6,085,111
  • 2005 - 7,071,881
  • 2006 - 8,101,827
  • 2007 - 9,268,476
  • 2008 - 9,460,606
  • 2009 - 8,320,927
  • 2010 - 8,712,384
  • 2011 (JAN-APR) - 2,503,538
Ground transportation

Warsaw Chopin Airport is located in the south-west part of Warsaw, approximately 10 km (6.21 mi) from the city centre. The airport is easy to access by car, the municipal bus service or taxi.

Żwirki i Wigury, named after the celebrated aviators who won the Challenge International de Tourisme in 1932, is the artery leading to the airport.


Taxis are also available at the airport.


Warsaw city center can be reached by the bus lines: 175 and 188 during the day and N32 at night. There is also an additional line 148 that provides access to Ursynów (a southern part of Warsaw) and Praga (an eastern part of Warsaw). The fare is PLN 2.8(PLN 3.6 from august,16th.)(Reduced fare 50% normal fee) one-way for all the lines (day and night).


There are no direct rail links to the airport. As of 2010, a rail link is being built at a cost of 230 million złoty to connect the airport's Warsaw Chopin Airport railway station (built as part of Terminal A) to Warsaw city centre.


The airport has two intersecting runways, whose configuration and available taxiways under current rules permit 34 passenger operations (takeoffs or landings) per hour.

Preferential runways

The following preferential runway system has been established for the airport:



Between 20:00 and 04:00 hours (in winter: 21:00 and 05:00), Runway 15/33 is used, weather and technical considerations permitting.

Future auxiliary airport at Modlin

A proposal to convert of a former military airfield north of the city into Warsaw's second international airport for low-cost carriers is, as of May 2008, awaiting government approval on environmental grounds, but due to proximity to bird migration routes and protected bird sanctuary wetlands, may be delayed or ultimately blocked. Modlin is also to service charter carriers and in some undefined future, cargo, but due to chronic delays in commencing needed construction, is not expected to become operational until 2011 at the earliest. Meanwhile other regional military airports at Sochaczew and Radom are being readied by their local governments and private investors to compete with Modlin for Warsaw-region low cost passenger traffic and cargo.


On 31 July 2010 at approximately 16:00 local time the first ever wedding was held in the airport chapel in Terminal 2.

Accidents at or near WAW
  • On December 19, 1962, a LOT Polish Airlines Vickers Viscount 804 crashed on approach after a flight from Brussels and Berlin-Schönefeld Airport, while attempting a go-around. All 33 passengers on board died.
  • On March 14, 1980, LOT Polish Airlines Flight 007, Ilyushin Il-62 aircraft crashed on final approach from New York City's John F. Kennedy International Airport, when attempting a go-around. All 87 passengers on board died, including the entire amateur US boxing team, Polish pop singer Anna Jantar and Alan P. Merriam.
  • On May 9, 1987, LOT Polish Airlines Flight 5055, Ilyushin Il-62M took-off for a flight to New York-JFK Airport and returned to Okęcie, after an engine failure. During its approach the aircraft crashed in a heavily wooded-area, short of the runway. All 183 passengers on board died.
  • On December 17, 1991, Alitalia Flight 1212, a McDonnell-Douglas DC 9-32 arriving from Rome-Fiumicino Airport, landed next to the runway after unstabilized approach. As a result, the nose gear of the aircraft collapsed. All 96 passengers and crew survived, however the aircraft was damaged beyond repair and written-off.
  • On September 14, 1993, Lufthansa Flight 2904, an Airbus A320-200, overran the runway and crashed into an embankment, after a flight from Frankfurt. The co-pilot and one passenger died, and 68 passengers and crew were injured.
  • On December 31, 1993, LOT Polish Airlines Flight 002, a Boeing 767-300ER arriving from Chicago-O'Hare Airport, suffered a substantial damage after its nose gear collapsed when touching down. There were no fatalities.


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Building Activity

  • updated 2 digital references
    about 6 years ago via OpenBuildings.com
  • Kiril Pavlov
    Kiril Pavlov updated
    about 6 years ago via OpenBuildings.com