Get the champagne out, Warsaw airport’s terminal 2 has finally opened for business! (charter already working, full operation from March 30th)
People, like me, who live in Warsaw and travel a lot have been waiting very patiently for this to happen. The arrivals part has been open for perhaps six months now but the departures only started operating in the last few days. Departing from the old terminal and arriving at the new one wasn’t exactly what travellers had in mind!
It was so long ago now that I can’t remember when construction started but the building has appeared to be finished but not opened for the last two years. The half decade preceding this was nothing more than a catalogue of dispute between the government agency in charge and the contractor, Budimex. It seems that the main problem was the way public procurement projects are organised in that they have to accept the lowest bid and then publicly account for any adjustments thereafter. No doubt a well meaning regulation aimed at cutting down corruption but something got lost in the execution. Budimex were the lowest bidder in both of the public tenders and hence they were awarded the project. Trouble is that everyone knew their price was so low as to be ridiculous and as someone who does this sort of thing for a living I can tell you that that spells only one thing – TROUBLE.
Trouble is what they got. From the start Budimex were busy trying to recoup the approx $50 million they were short by. This is done by various means but taking shortcuts where the specs are not crystal and arguing about every little thing are two of them. The project quickly got bogged down and eventually ground to a halt.
Recent, last two years, rumours have been that there was a problem with the fire system. The article I linked to seems to agree with that. No doubt it failed tests and then nobody could work out what was connected to what! Anyway, eventually another contractor was brought in to fix the place and we are, finally, up and running. The newly expanded airport is designed to handle 12 million passengers a year.
I’m looking forward to my next trip, probably to Moscow, to see how it all works. Mind you, that’s likely to be before the end of the month and is a scheduled flight so I might be unlucky. Fingers crossed!