Rzeszów Airport, located approximately 60 miles (96.5 kilometers) from the Ukrainian border in southeast Poland, has emerged as a crucial hub for the transportation of weapons, medical supplies, and people to and from Ukraine. Analyzing Flightradar24 data, we can observe significant changes in operators, aircraft types, and traffic at this small airport since the onset of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The nearest airports to Ukraine, located as close as possible to the Ukrainian border.
The invasion of Ukraine by Russia in February 2022 had a profound impact, and the significant surge in flights at Rzeszów Airport cannot be underestimated. In general, there has been a remarkable 167% increase in the average number of weekly aircraft movements since the beginning of the conflict.
Since the very beginning, there have been remarkable surges in passenger, cargo, and business jet traffic at Rzeszów Airport. However, the most notable change during the initial weeks was the sharp increase in military traffic.
It is evident that Rzeszów will continue to serve as the primary gateway to Ukraine in the foreseeable future. Western nations have demonstrated their unwavering commitment to providing essential supplies to Ukraine, and no other airport in such close proximity to the Ukrainian border is as well-suited for handling large volumes of military and cargo traffic.
These ongoing increases in regular traffic are not only beneficial for Ukraine but also hold the potential to bolster Rzeszów Airport’s revenue. Consequently, this can have a positive impact on the local community by creating job opportunities within the airport.
The impact of increased military usage on leisure and tourism traffic is yet to be determined. While some travelers may hesitate to visit a city located just 60 miles from the conflict zone, passenger traffic appears to remain stable. In addition to established services by Ryanair, LOT Polish Airlines, and Lufthansa, new routes are scheduled to commence in 2023. LOT will initiate flights to Gdansk starting from June 2, and Wizz Air will introduce a service to Rome Fiumicino from June 7.