Transitions Online 16.12.2014
A Polish airfield notorious as the place where terror suspects arrived in the country on their way to harsh interrogations by the CIA may get a new lease on life as an international transit hub.
The European Union will provide just over half of $60 million for a project to upgrade Szymany airport in northeastern Poland, Reuters reports.
The airport is near the military base alleged to be the site of a secret CIA prison that operated after the 9/11 attacks on the United States. The area is remote, which brings up the question of why an international airport would be built there. Reuters writes: “The nearest big population center, Olsztyn, with 175,000 people, is a one-hour drive away along narrow bumpy roads that are clogged with traffic in summer.”
In a separate article, Reuters details how Poland received 615.7 million euros ($765 million) in EU funds earmarked for airports between 2007 and 2013, based on “highly ambitious” projections of passenger traffic. This was more than twice as much as the second-largest recipient, Spain.
The operator of the Szymany airport, Warmia i Mazury Sp., expects 80,000 passengers in the first year after it goes into full operation in 2016, and up to 250,000 passengers a year by 2035.
The EU introduced stricter criteria for funding airport projects earlier this year, Reuters reports, seeking to stop subsidizing loss-making airports.
EU funds to spruce up Polish ‘black site’ airport