Businesses that rely on Warsaw’s Modlin airport for income are preparing to take legal action against the construction firm that built the crumbling runways there – adding to the 7 million złoty bill that the airport authority has already handed the firm.
Modlin’s bosses say that Erbud is responsible for repairing the two 540-metre long sections of runway at the airport, which forced it to close to large aircraft in December. The bill is 180,000zł per day, and is expected to soar still higher because repairs might not be complete until May.
In an official statement, Modlin’s representatives said: “The ERBUD S.A. Company is required to repair any damage occurring to the runway under warranty, the company will also be required to cover financial losses resulting from the need to suspend operations at the airport.”
The class action suit by entrepreneurs at Modlin is expected to include claims from a motel, restaurants, parking and car rental services, all of which have suffered losses of tens of thousands of złoty. In all, Erbud could face a total claim of 100,000zł.
Budget airlines Wizz Air and Ryanair – among Modlin’s biggest customers – have confirmed that they will fly to Warsaw’s Chopin airport until at least April 30. Wizz Air suspended flights to Modlin in December, before the runway closed, because of concerns about electronic landing guidance equipment.
The airport operated for just four months before it was forced to close, handling some 720,000 passengers and 5,000 flights. Erbud has put together a four-option repair package for the runway, which officials at Modlin have already seen. The Air Force Institute of Technology has been asked for advice on the options, which will be discussed at a meeting on February 12.
The best case scenario would see the repairs complete in 43 days. The longest expected wait is 70 days. Either could see Modlin re-open before the long spring holiday in May.