On Thursday 5 August 2021, the first passengers travelling from Katowice Airport used the expanded and reconstructed passenger terminal B. The primary goal of the investment which began in September 2019 was the improvement of performance and quality of handling passengers by enhancing the surface and cubage of the building and creating a new internal functional layout. “Promus Ruda Śląska” Sp. z o.o. was the main contractor who carried out the expansion and reconstruction project.
Under the expansion and reconstruction of terminal B, the surface of the building was increased by 40% from 12.2 thousand m2 to 17.2 thousand m2. Cubage of the building was increased by 35% from 88.4 thousand m3 to 120.3 thousand m3. The facade of the terminal was moved 17.5 metres to the south; as a result, it became possible to level and – resultantly – connect the reconstructed building with terminal C. In the passage connecting both terminals is an area dedicated to Wojciech Korfanty – the patron of Katowice Airport. The elevation of terminal B has also changed; following the end of the expansion, the building became architecturally consistent with terminals A and C.
Among the important changes inside the building is the separation of the check-in area from the security control area via a floor. In the old terminal B, both areas were located on the ground floor; in the new building, security control has been moved to the first floor. Resultantly, it became possible to increase the number of check-in desks from 18 to 28. One desk is dedicated to checking in oversized baggage, two are meant for passengers who want to check their baggage in by themselves.
Changes were also introduced in the departures hall of terminal B. In addition to an expanded Fast Track, new food, retail & services outlets and a new business lounge, the latter of which has been moved to the second floor of the departures hall and which is twice as big as its predecessor, 16 boarding gates await passengers travelling from Katowice Airport, i.e. 6 more than in the old terminal B. 2 additional gates are located in each of 3 external boarding towers which are connected with the terminal with bridges. The remaining 10 boarding gates are located on the ground floor of the departures hall. The ground floor and first floor of both the free access area and the departures hall are connected with moving walkways.
Furthermore, the building is fully adapted to handle passengers with disabilities. It is possible to move between all floors of the free access area and the departures hall thanks to elevators. The external boarding towers are also equipped with elevators.
The new, currently most advanced in Poland, “heart” of terminal B consists of a baggage transport, security control and sorting system. It is equipped with two standard 3 security control devices, i.e. CT scanners; thanks to them, it is possible to receive a detailed, tridimensional image of the scanned baggage. The new baggage room has a tray sorter (76 trays) with a tilting system and 12 baggage chutes. The throughput of the system is 1,885 pieces of luggage per hour.
As a result of the investment, the throughput of passenger terminal B increased from 2 to 4 million passengers yearly. The end of the expansion and reconstruction of passenger terminal B contributed towards a considerable improvement of the throughput of the airport’s entire terminal infrastructure which consists of terminals A (flights to Non-Schengen countries), B (flights to Schengen Area countries) and C (Schengen and Non-Schengen arrivals). When the investment came to an end, it increased from 6 million to 8 million passengers yearly. The surface of all passenger terminals increased from 29 thousand m2 to 34 thousand m2.
We carried out the expansion and reconstruction of passenger terminal B largely during the very difficult time of the coronavirus pandemic, which contributed to the biggest crisis in the history of aviation. However, we completed the project on time; by doing so, we brought to an end another important investment which is part of a complex plan of expanding Katowice Airport. Putting terminal B into service does not mark the end of pro-development projects at Katowice Airport. We keep thinking about the future and want to strengthen the airport’s position in various areas. That’s why we are consequently expanding the aircraft maintenance base. The construction of a 6.5 hectares aircraft apron and a third hangar with bays for servicing two Airbus A321neo aircraft is underway. We are intensely working on projects associated with the development of the cargo area. We want to considerably increase the terminal surface meant for handling cargo traffic, said Artur Tomasik, President of the Management Board of Górnośląskie Towarzystwo Lotnicze SA, the company managing Katowice Airport.
Katowice Airport is among the biggest regional airports in Poland. In 2019, record-breaking 4.84 million passengers used its flights’ network; 2 million of them travelled on charter flights. The prognosis for 2020 assumed that 5.5 million travellers would be handled. Ultimately, due to the coronavirus pandemic, 1.44 million passengers travelled to/from Katowice Airport last year. The airport is the country leader in the area of charter traffic and the regional leader in the area of cargo traffic.