It seems that the Katowice International Airport (KTW) can benefit from Amazon’s large investment near Wrocław. The online retail giant has been operating secret flights carrying packages to Katowice since mid-November last year. The service is part of a trial operation enabling the company to launch its own European air freight service.
The news were revealed by London’s Evening Standard newspaper. According to the publication, Amazon has chartered a Boeing 737 cargo aircraft to fly between Poland, the United Kingdom and Germany. The plane has made five trips a week, flying from Katowice to Luton, East Midlands or Doncaster airports and then back to Poland via Kassel in Germany, the newspaper reported. Those airports are all near Amazon warehouses.
The company chartered the plane from DB Schenker, the logistics arm of the German railway company, Deutsche Bahn. Amazon did not comment on the publication, however it is officially known that the company wants to create its own cargo operations to avoid delays from external carriers such as UPS, DHL and FedEx. In December last year, Seattle Times revealed that Amazon were negotiating to lease 20 Boeing 767 jets for its own air-delivery service.
KTW is the nearest and largest cargo airport located close to two large Amazon’s warehouses developed in the Wrocław area. In 2014, over 16 400 tons of air freight were handled at the Katowice Airport’s cargo base what ranked KTW at the first place among regional airports in Poland (5 800 tons of air freight were handled at Wrocław Airport during the same year).
Katowice Airport’s runway is 303 meters above sea level making it the highest-altitude runway in Poland. This ensures highly favourable weather conditions, resulting in Katowice Airport having the fewest low visibility days of all of Poland’s airports and others in the region. Also, a new 3,2 km long runway was opened at KTW last year enabling to accommodate the largest aircrafts in the world. Additionally, a new cargo base of 11 800 sq. meters, called Cargo City, is now being developed at the airport.