WARSAW (Reuters) – Warsaw’s new Modlin airport will open just in time for next month’s Euro 2012 soccer championship but no airlines will land there until almost two weeks after the tournament ends in July.
“We are an airport that is still under construction,” Modlin spokeswoman Magdalena Bojarska said on Wednesday. “We are ready for private planes. Normal flights will start from July. There will be no airlines until then.”
Poles have moaned for years about the shortage of budget flights to Warsaw, with major carriers like Ryanair and Easyjet steering clear of the city’s main Chopin airport, blaming overcrowding and high costs per passenger.
Modlin, 20 miles to the north of the city, has long been in planning to resolve the problem but a series of delays mean the first budget flights will only land there on July 16.
That should not harm the city’s ability to cope with the additional traffic for the June 8-July 1 tournament but means there are fewer options for fans looking to travel cheap.
Poland has made huge strides in adapting their often-outdated infrastructure for a tournament that will bring more than a million visitors to the country and co-hosts Ukraine.
Almost 1,000 kilometres of new motorway have been constructed for the tournament as well as two new stadiums in Gdansk and Warsaw while wide-ranging improvements in rail and hotel infrastructure have also been made.
(Reporting by Patrick Graham, editing by Mark Meadows)