Poland's huge air hub plan to go ahead, says PM

FILE PHOTO: Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk

By Anna Koper

WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland will go ahead with plans conceived by the previous government to build a huge air hub in the centre of the country, but with amendments, Prime Minister Donald Tusk said on Wednesday.

The Central Communication Port (CPK) airport project had posed a dilemma for Tusk's pro-European coalition government, which took office in December.

The nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) government proposed the construction of a regional transport hub serving around 40 million passengers a year, with high-speed rail connections, aiming to boost Poland's economy and international prestige. PiS also said it could be used for military purposes.

But the project was criticised for its cost and scale, and for its location far from any major city.

"The issue of the CPK was the subject of serious political confrontation," Tusk told a news conference. "The task of this team was to separate politics, propaganda, organised trolling ... It took some time."

Tusk said the CPK airport would be built in Baranow in central Poland, but that regional airports and the Okecie (Chopin) and Modlin airports serving the capital Warsaw would also be modernised.

He also said the high-speed rail network forming part of the CPK project would connect major cities to each other, not just to the airport or the capital.

The airport will open in 2032 and be designed to serve 34 million passengers a year, he said. Deputy Development Minister Maciej Lasek said the whole CPK project would cost 131 billion zlotys ($32.5 billion) up to 2032.

The PiS lawmaker was in charge of the project when PiS was in power criticised the new plans.

"Prime Minister Donald Tusk announces the (building of the) CPK by 2032 and the simultaneous expansion of Okecie and Modlin, which is completely contradictory," Marcin Horala wrote on the platform X.

($1 = 4.0283 zlotys)

(Reporting by Anna Koper, Alan Charlish, Pawel Florkiewicz; editing by Jason Neely and Kevin Liffey)