Centralny Port Komunikacyjny (CPK) moves from the planning phase to the design phase and summarizes 10 key 2022 achievements

In the past year, binding decisions have been made that have a direct impact on the shape of the airport, its capacity, its integration with the railways and its phased construction. We no longer speculate where the airport is to be built – because the proposed location is known and is going through the process of obtaining the required permits. We no longer ask whether it should be built but rather answer how, when, how much and under what funding model.

In the case of the airport, we have moved from the planning phase to the design phase. The application for an environmental decision concerning the airport, including the railway, roads and associated infrastructure, is pending.

A Voluntary Acquisition Programme (PDN) is also underway at the future development site. More than 650 owners and holders of properties have applied for the programme with a total area of more than 1,500 hectares. The Programme was set up to acquire as many plots as possible through voluntary transactions.

For the long-distance tunnel in Łódź, the most advanced CPK investment, we already have building plans and specifications, a set of location decisions, one of three planning permissions while the first tender is underway, which means that construction works start next year.

Feasibility studies (STEŚ) are already being developed for 1,500 km of the 2,000 km planned ‘spokes’. We already have investment variants for the 140-kilometre section of the High-Speed Railway between Warsaw and Łódź, the 200 km between Łódź and Wrocław and the 40 km between Stalowa Wola and Rzeszów.

A number of international partners have been involved in the CPK project this year, such as Incheon Airport from Seoul, i.e. the current Strategic Advisor, the design consortium Foster+Partners and Buro Happold as the Master Architect and the design company Dar Al-Handasah as the Master Civil Engineer.

Here is the Top 10, a subjective overview of the most important CPK-related events of 2022:
1. Location of the CPK airport. Application for an environmental decision. Phased execution

The application for the environmental decision for the airport, including the railway junction, new roads and water, energy, gas infrastructure, etc., was submitted by CPK to the Regional Directorate for Environmental Protection in Warsaw (RDOŚ) in October. The application, together with the environmental report, has more than 20,000 pages and is part of a larger procedural puzzle. It constitutes a supplement and continuation of the CPK investor variant that we presented in June of this year, as well as the preferred location for the airport, which we announced last December.

As part of our carefully planned activities over the past year, we consulted with local authorities on the Master Plan, which sets out the airport’s development plan in the long-term perspective (by 2060). The plan is based on traffic forecasts prepared by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Based on IATA baseline scenario, we assume that between 2028 (the planned year for the airport launch) and 2035, on an area of approximately 2,150 ha, the new airport will have two parallel runways and a terminal designed to handle 40 million passengers a year.

Thereafter, the airport will be expanded – depending on the market situation and forecasts, which will be updated on an ongoing basis. For 2060, we assume, based on the baseline scenario, that the airport will have an infrastructure capable of handling 65 million passengers per year. At that point, the airport will already have three runways and an assumed area of 3,900 ha.

The next step after obtaining the environmental decision, which is the responsibility of the Regional Directorate for Environmental Protection, will be to apply to the voivode for a location decision. We hope to obtain the approvals and administrative decisions by the end of 2023 to enable the commencement of the first construction preparatory works.

2. Master Architect and its team. The big design four

The planning phase for the airport has ended and the design phase has begun. For the airport part alone, a staggering number of around 60,000 design drawings will be created and incorporated into the digital design environment. There will be four contractors for the large design packages for the new airport. The multi-disciplinary design documentation must be – as the investor’s requirement – compiled into one coherent project.

Last month, we signed a contract with the British consortium Foster + Partners and Buro Happold, the designer of the passenger terminal and railway station (Master Architect). The contractor we have chosen has experience in designing transfer airports in various parts of the world, including Hong Kong, Doha and Beijing.

A month earlier, we concluded another important contract: with a Master Civil Engineer (MCE). This entity is responsible at CPK for the design of the runways, taxiways and aprons. The contractor, a Lebanese conglomerate, Dar Al-Handasah, has been involved in the design of airports in Doha, Dubai and Chicago.

In December, we selected 13 companies and consortia, including Polish ones, with which we are going to sign a framework agreement as part of the first tender for the design of the support facilities (Support Infrastructure Engineer – SIE). This includes such facilities as the air traffic control tower which, in addition to the passenger terminal, could become the airport’s most characteristic building (similarly to the new Istanbul airport). The contract also covers the design of the airport operations centre, the fire and rescue, maintenance and airport management buildings and the airport service office.

The bids received under the second part of the tender for the design of the support facilities – the SIE2 – at the airport (including hotels, offices, multi-storey car parks, retail facilities and cargo terminals), which was announced in October, are still being analysed. The winning tender is planned to be announced in January.

We have also signed a contract with IDOM as Airport Systems Integration Designer (ASID), which constitutes the airport’s ‘nervous system’. The tasks of this contractor include the design, implementation and integration of specialised airport systems that automate airport operations and offer digital tools to improve the passenger experience.

3. Warsaw-Łódź HSR. Project option and application for an environmental decision

This will be the railway backbone for CPK. CPK has signed contracts for the design of the Warsaw – Łódź line, which is the first section of the High Speed Railway (HSR) in Poland. Between Warsaw and Łódź, the first and fourth most populated cities in Poland, we plan to build a total of 140 km in tracks where trains will be able to reach 250 km/h (the design speed is 350 km/h).

Thanks to this investment, the travel time between Warsaw and Łódź will be reduced to around 45 minutes (today it takes about an hour and a half). Travellers will reach the CPK airport from Warsaw in around 15 minutes and from Łódź in around half an hour. Once the entire “Y” shaped line has been built, the train journey from Wrocław to Warsaw will take 1 hour 45 minutes (i.e. half the time today), and from Poznań to Warsaw less than 2 hours (down from the current 3 hours).

The contractors were selected under the largest framework contract for this type of service in Europe. This contract for the design of 10 ‘spokes’ may reach a maximum gross value of PLN 8.6 billion over eight years.

4. HSR tunnel with a complete set of location decisions

Work on the 4km High Speed Rail tunnel in Łódź is the most advanced of all CPK investments. The company received planning permission for works to reinforce the foundations of the Łódź House of Culture (ŁDK) – west of the Łódź Fabryczna station). This will be the location of the excavated chamber for the tunnel boring machine TBM. For this task, CPK has already announced a tender for a contractor. Further planning permissions are a matter for the coming weeks.

In December, the company obtained the last of three location decisions for the HSR tunnel. It is now waiting for a response to the planning permission applications for the Retkinia chamber, the Fabryczna chamber and for the tunnel.

The tunnel is a key element of the ‘Y’ shaped line, the HSR route under preparation between Warsaw, CPK, Łódź, Wrocław and Poznań. It is also an investment which, together with the construction of the suburban tunnel currently being carried out by PKP Polskie Linie Kolejowe in Łódź, will allow for much better travel and the use of the Łódź Fabryczna station.

In order to speed up pre-construction procedures, we used some of the pre-design documentation that had been produced before preparations for the construction of the ‘Y’ shaped line were unnecessarily halted in 2011.

5.  Investor options for the three sections. Feasibility studies already for 1,500 km, i.e. 3/4 of the CPK pool

CPK already has an investor variant and an application for an environmental decision for the 140-kilometre-long Warsaw-Łódź section of the High-Speed Railway (in this case we are already at the stage of submitting applications for an environmental decision). The investor’s preferred route for the 200 km from Łódź to Wrocław is also ready. Since December, there has also been an investor variant for the 40-kilometre section Łętownia – Rzeszów.

Technical, economic, environmental studies (STEŚ) are already being developed for 1,500 km of the 2,000 km of the CPK planned railwayspokes’. Work on feasibility studies is carried out at a pace unprecedented for infrastructure investments in Poland. For example, the comparison of variants, consultations with residents and local authorities, multi-criteria analysis and selection of variants for the sections between Warsaw and Łódź and between Łódź and Wrocław took less than a year from when the agreements were concluded.

Thanks to the CPK railway investments, travel times from most regions of Poland to Warsaw and the planned airport will be significantly reduced. New international connections with the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary ( “spoke” no. 7 Katowice-Ostrava, which is part of the V4 line) and the Ukraine (extension of “spoke” no. 5 to Lviv) are planned. CPK also works closely with Rail Baltica, which is preparing the construction of a HSR line connecting Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia with Poland, specifically with section no. 3 of the ‘spoke’ managed by PKP PLK.

6. Dual-purpose infrastructure. CPK embedded in NATO plans

In March, Gen. Ben Hodges, the former Commander General of US Army Europe, told PAP that Russia’s aggression against Ukraine shows how much investment such as CPK is needed to improve the quality of rapid response infrastructure on NATO’s Eastern Flank. These words were confirmed by other military officials, including the former Chief of the Aeromobile Forces, Brigadier General Dariusz Wroński, who told Rzeczpospolita that from the point of view of the country’s defence, CPK is an investment needed ‘yesterday’.

The lesson from the Russian aggression in Ukraine is that Poland needs a high-capacity airport, capable of 24/7 operations, suitable for cargo, connected to the railway and road network. This is why CPK is planned as a dual-use infrastructure, i.e. as a civil airport that can be used by NATO support and rapid response forces in the event of a threat of armed conflict. This is also why the CPK Master Plan presented in September assumes that military infrastructure is envisaged in the northern part of CPK. Its planning and development is the responsibility of the Ministry of Defence in cooperation with CPK.

7. Large-scale framework contracts (feasibility studies, design, construction works)

In the past year, CPK has made extensive use of the framework agreement mechanism, which has shortened and increased the efficiency of the contractor selection process. This procedure reduces the likelihood of protests and appeals by first selecting contractors based on their experience and, only then, in the second stage of the tendering procedure, based on price and delivery time.

Under this formula, CPK concludes contracts for extended feasibility studies (STEŚ-R), design work and construction works. For example – the 8-year framework agreement signed by CPK with design companies for railway investments is valued at over PLN 8.6 billion gross. It is currently the largest framework contract for design work in Europe.

8. CPK plus Chopin Airport. Capital group with PPL

CPK is a company preparing the construction of a new hub airport and 2,000 km of railway lines. PPL owns and manages Chopin Airport in Warsaw and holds shares in most Polish regional airports. This year the consolidation process between CPK and PPL has started, which will have a significant impact on the aviation market in Poland.

In the past year, the government’s plenipotentiary for CPK, Marcin Horała, announced a detailed plan to transform PPL into a single-person commercial law company and then to contribute shares of the new PPL to the CPK SPV. As a result, a capital group will be created that is responsible for obtaining the financing for and coordinating the CPK investment tasks.


For the market and for investors, this confirms the decision to move 100% of civilian traffic from Chopin Airport to CPK. Consolidation will facilitate this process, spur the construction of new infrastructure and provide numerous benefits for both parties, including the benefit of shared knowledge and experience.

9. Real property for the needs of CPK. Already more than 650 owners and 1,500 ha

The Voluntary Acquisitions Programme, which involves a system of incentives and bonuses for residents (valuations of 120% of the market value of the land and 140% of the value of the house, organisation and covering the costs of the move, of legal costs, etc.) unheard of in other public purpose developments, gained great momentum in the second half of the year.

More than 650 property owners have so far signed up to the VAP. November saw the highest rate of applications since the programme began two years ago. The stage of performing appraisal reports, submitting offers, negotiations, signing memoranda of understanding and ultimately concluding contracts already covers an area of almost 1,500 hectares. If we take into account only properties submitted to VAP from the area of the planned airport site announced in June, a third of the site is already in the process of bidding and acquiring the land by CPK.

VAP is preceded by a compulsory expropriation phase for compensation, which starts once the location decision has been issued.

10. Cooperation with the investment environment and universities. Strategy for the region

As part of its corporate social responsibility (CSR), CPK has this year co-financed purchases and projects that are important to the municipalities and residents in the investment area, such as the purchase of three firefighting and rescue vehicles for the General Corps of Volunteer Firefighters of the municipalities of Baranów, Teresin and Wiskitki, new equipment for rescue operations for WOPR (Volunteer Water Rescue Service) in Grodzisk Mazowiecki and the construction of a helipad for the Western Hospital in Grodzisk Mazowiecki, which will be built next year.

Why does CPK carry out such activities? Being a socially responsible company means investing in human resources, in protecting the environment, in relationships with the environment. All these activities are part of the Strategy for the Development of the Area Surrounding CPK until 2040, which was prepared in close cooperation with local authorities from the investment environment.

In the past year, CPK has also collaborated with technical universities and scientific institutions. We have signed partnership agreements with: Warsaw University of Technology, Gdansk University of Technology, Lodz University of Technology, Łukasiewicz Research Network , AGH University of Science and Technology in Krakow and Lazarski University. The aim of these activities is to exchange knowledge and experience, carry out joint scientific and research projects and recruit staff for the largest infrastructure project in our part of Europe

You can learn more about Centralny Port Komunikacyjny (CPK) at: https://www.cpk.pl/en/ 

You can learn more about International Conference Railway Direction Days 2023 (RDD 2023)  at: https://railwaydirectiondays.com/