According to calculations of the Civil Aviation Office, in 2030 passenger traffic in Poland will double and exceed 60 million passengers per year. However, if the current dynamics are maintained, this ceiling can be reached earlier. The Polish air transport market is growing much above the forecasts and only in Q1 2017 recorded 17% growth. This is most strongly influenced by the growing wealth of Poles and ticket prices.

- A statistical British citizen flies three times a year, in Germany this indicator is at the level of 2.6, while in the case of Poles the mobility coefficient is 0.89, so we can see that we have something to catch up with. However, from year to year this indicator is growing in Poland - says Newseria Biznes news agency Anna Jąkalska, the main specialist of the Civil Aviation Office.

A statistical Pole flies much less frequently than a European. According to PwC (report "Aviation Market Development Forecast"), the indicator of the number of air passengers in relation to the entire population remains low (0.9) in Poland compared to Western European countries. In 2016 it amounted to 2.7 in Germany and 4.1 in the Netherlands.

The ULC data show that this difference is decreasing and the Polish transport market is growing dynamically and above forecasts. Only in the first quarter of this year, domestic airports served over 7.5 million passengers in total, i.e. 17 percent more than a year before in the same period.

The ULC also reports that the number of passenger operations increased (by 10% to nearly 72 million) and the seat factor (the so-called seat factor increased by 4 percentage points to 78%). In addition, the Polish market recorded much better results than European and global markets.

International traffic recorded a 16% growth rate, which means an increase of nearly 830 thousand passengers. The largest share was held by Ryanair and the national carrier PLL LOT. The growth of domestic passenger transport exceeded 30 percent. The ULC estimates that the driving force behind such dynamic growth is catching up with Western European countries and the growing activity of carriers and competition between them.

- Such a good economic situation is directly related to the strong competition of low-cost carriers and the national carrier PLL LOT, as well as to the wealth of Poles. This can be seen in the charter market, where not only European countries, but also countries of the Caribbean, Dominican Republic and Cuba are already popular - here traffic increased by about 46 percent. - comments Anna Jąkalska.

The charter market, after slightly weaker results last year, recorded a growth of 23% in the first quarter of 2017, serving nearly 70 thousand more passengers. As in the same period, the most popular direction was Spain. However, the biggest increases were noted in the case of charter flights to the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Israel and Cuba.

Passenger aircraft

According to an expert from the ULC, the growing wealth of Poles and ticket prices are the factors that will drive the domestic aviation market to the greatest extent. If the prices of air tickets will rise, one can expect further dynamic growth in popularity of low-cost carriers, which already have almost 50% share in the Polish market.

- The ticket price is influenced by petrol prices or taxes. The passenger sees only the final price of the ticket, he does not see other aspects that affect this amount. Norway introduced a new tax at the beginning of April, which will certainly affect the ticket price, which was not liked by low-cost carriers. It can be expected that there will be a decrease in the offer of flights to Norway. Due to the price of fuel, new taxes and noise charges, which are being discussed more and more often, ticket prices will increase. This in turn will translate into the number of passengers who like to fly economically," says Anna Jąkalska.

In the whole of 2016, Polish airports served nearly 34 million passengers, which represented a 12% increase year-on-year (an increase of about 4 million people). The leaders were invariably Warsaw Chopin Airport (12.8 million) and Kraków-Balice (5 million passengers). The most popular destinations were Great Britain, Germany, Norway and Italy. In charter traffic, the Mediterranean countries came first: Spain, Greece, Bulgaria and Italy.

Analysts of the global consulting company PwC in April estimated that this year the number of passengers serviced by airports may increase by 11% to about 37.8 million people. For comparison, the global air transport market in the long term (until 2035) is expected to grow at an average annual rate of 4%.

- The Polish market is growing much above expectations. Last year, we noticed that the results significantly exceeded those projected for 2017 and 2018. If there will be no perturbations, crisis or downturn on the market, it can be expected that the results will be better every year - the main specialist of the Civil Aviation Office forecasts.

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