Sustainable from the Ground Up – Poland plans Next-Gen CPK Green Airport

Making aviation sustainable is both a global ambition and a climate necessity, with governments and private enterprise working together to achieve it. However, retrofitting and upgrading existing airports to become greener – even as they carry out their daily operations – is no easy task. When building a completely new airport, there is a golden opportunity to design, plan and construct it with complete sustainability in mind.

This month saw Poland embrace this ideal, with the revealing of masterplan for The Centralny Port Komunikacyjny (CPK) Airport – a multimodal aviation hub that has sustainability built into every element of its design and future expansion plans.

Scalable yet sustainable – building with eco-friendliness in mind

As the CPK masterplan shows, the new airport is expected to be Phase 1 operational in 2028, less than 5 years away. Its initial passenger capacity will be 40 million per year, with its parallel runways servicing approximately 330,000 flights annually. Projections from IATA suggests that this may grow to 65 million passengers via 450,000 flights by 2060.

What really sets this new airport project apart from its peers isn’t the speed or scale of development, it’s the integration of sustainable design approaches and eco-friendly construction methods at every possible turn. In order to achieve its ambition of net-zero operations from the outset, CPK will feature:

Renewable power generation: Clean energy is a core concern for ensuring reliable airport operations with minimal emissions. CPK Airport will feature solar PV and geothermal heating in its energy mix, as well as utilising the very latest in smart, energy-efficient systems across the airport’s terminals, ATC and key operational areas.

Water circularity: Circular economics are at the heart of CPK’s design, allowing for the sustainable reuse of water as well as electricity. Rainwater harvesting and on-site treatment plants will allow for CPK to ensure a steady, sustainable supply of potable water on-site, while non-potable water reclaimed from operations will be treated and reallocated to processes like ventilation, cooling and heating. Excess water will be siphoned off for use in agricultural irrigation, so not a drop will be wasted.

Green construction materials and methods: Greener materials like low-carbon concrete and recycled composites will be used throughout the building process. Wherever possible, local/regional materials will be used appropriately, such as wood and stone, to complement the authentic feel of the airport’s design without compromising its green credentials. The airport is aiming to achieve “Excellent” level BREEAM certification for its construction and infrastructure.

EVs and electrification: CPK aims to mobilise a fleet of fully electrified/hybrid vehicles for ground operations, as well as extensive EV charging facilities for visitors and staff.

Biodiversity protection: CPK’s partners and stakeholders have worked in close consultation with residents to create a masterplan that protects local wildlife and flora as broadly as possible. Measures include working with the community to relocate habitats, conserve trees, shrubs and other plants while also replanting and landscaping the wider airport grounds to promote biodiversity. The specific location of the airport site was a carefully considered choice, putting it a safe distance from protected zones and normal forest areas. This kind of foresight is essential for looking beyond the immediate environmental impact of airports and assessing their place in the wider ecological picture. Working with specialist 4IR-tech providers like Saudi Airports Exhibitor Yadgreen can give both governments and corporates the expertise needed to see opportunities for biodiversity conservation while also achieving sustainable economic value.

Connecting the Green Dots

Not only is CPK planned as a net-zero airport, it will also boost the wider sustainability of Poland’s transport systems by providing a vital link in its expanding high-speed rail network. The new airport will link rail lines running between Warsaw and Łódź, giving passengers headed either way options for fast (up to 350kmph), reliable and green public transport as they head to and from the airport.

This section is part of a wider “Y” shaped route that will connect Warsaw, Łódź, Poznań and Wrocław, embracing the ideal of greater national interconnectivity for more efficient and sustainable travel.

A blueprint for future – Airports can power green economies

As an exemplar of what next-generation airports can achieve when green ambition and design align properly, CPK Airport is vitally important. It demonstrates the wider mentality of governments that are looking to satisfy growing demand for affordable domestic and international travel, while also futureproofing their transport networks for a net-zero world.

Sustainable airport operations provide this opportunity, while also acting as the cornerstone for greener domestic transport road/rail links that can bring the enacting nation’s economy closer to net-zero, faster.