Airports as a factor of regional development on the example of the Szymany Airport.
airports, regional development, WarmiĆsko-Mazurskie Voivodship, airports economic effects
The Warmińsko-Mazurskie Voivodship is a NUTS II region, which belongs to the least developed regions of Poland and the EU. One of the reasons of its underdevelopment is poor transport accessibility, which limits the level of competitiveness and investment attractiveness. For this reason the voivodship authorities made a decision to build a regional airport by modernising the military airport in Szymany near Szczytno. The investment, which is co-financed by the European Funds, is aimed to reduce the level of peripherality of the region, increase its competitiveness and, as a consequence, raise the socio-economic development level. This paper aims to answer three questions. The first one concerns the extent to which the existence of a regional airport is a factor stimulating socio-economic development of regions, including peripheral ones. The second one is related to the question whether the location of the planned airport is justified by economic factors, or, to put in another way, whether the airport will bring profits in the long run. The last question, related to the previous ones, is whether the realisation of the investment in the planned form will help to reduce the degree of peripherality of the Warmińsko-Mazurskie Voivodship and thus accelerate its socio-economic development.