Rzeszów: How a small Polish airport became the gateway to Ukraine | Aviation


Located around 60 miles (96.5 kilometers) from the Ukrainian border in south east Poland, Rzeszów Airport has become an essential hub for movement of weapons, medical supplies and people in and out of Ukraine. We used Flightradar24 data to take a look at the seismic changes in operators, aircraft types and traffic using the small airport since the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Passenger flights at Rzeszów began in 1945, with commercial traffic beginning in earnest in 1949. In more recent times, the airport has seen seasonal services to North America as well as the establishment of scheduled operations from airlines including RyanairWizz AirLufthansa and LOT Polish Airlines. Rzeszów handled around 100 passenger flights per week in the summer of 2021 as the industry recovered from the Covid-19 pandemic. 

What’s happened to traffic at Rzeszów since the start of the war?

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 changed it all, and the seismic increase in flights arriving and departing Rzeszów cannot be understated. Overall, the average number of weekly aircraft movements has increased approximately 167% since the onset of the war. From day one we saw notable spikes in passenger, cargo, and business jet traffic, but the most significant change in the first few weeks was the spike in military traffic. We actually witnessed a slight increase in military movements in the week before the invasion, but the real changes began alongside the invasion.

The initial spike in military traffic in the first week of the invasion correlated with the earliest deliveries of military aid, such as the UK’s delivery of NLAW and Javelin missiles in late February. These initial flights were conducted mostly by the United States Air Force, United States Army, and the air forces of the United Kingdom and Italy. Whilst we can correlate some spikes in traffic with agreed weapons deliveries, it’s important to realize that many European countries… read more www.flightradar24.com

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