Poznan Airport In Poland Used By USAF More And More Eagerly To Support Military Operations In The Region

Poznan Airport
One of the C-5M Galaxy aircraft which visited Poznan over the May 30-31, 2021, weekend. (All images: Author)

A C-17 Globemaster and two C-5M Super Galaxy airlifters visited Poznan International Airport together for the first time recently.

Last weekend saw Henryk Wieniawski Poznan International Airport (also known as Poznan Ławica), near Poznan, in west-central Poland, host three U.S. Air Force airlifters.

Built in 1913, Poznan Ławica is one of the oldest airports in Poland, serving both civilian and military flights.

Błażej Patryn, the spokesman for Ławica told us that the last weekend of May has been busy, with airliners’ traffic increasing after a long period of stagnation and the presence of a single C-17 Globemaster III and two C-5M Super Galaxy cargo aircraft at their first simultaneous visit to Poznan.

Poznan Airport
Two C-5M Super Galaxy aircraft.

Interestingly, Patryn said that not only are the US military visits to Ławica an attraction for the aviation geeks but also pose a major challenge for the airport services, logistics-wise:

Preparing the landing of such aircraft requires the airport services, such as the Airport Fire and Rescue Service, Airport Security Guards, the handling company, and the Operational Duty Officers to cooperate with the military, with all of the available security measures implemented. This also includes the limited publicity regarding these operations, as these flights are conducted by the military. The airport in Poznan is, obviously, an airport that handles passenger flights, but it also acts as an important element of the Poland’s defense infrastructure. Ławice provides proper operational and logistics-related facilities for aircraft of this size, and numerous airframes as such have been hosted by us, in the recent years.

Robust strategic airlift capabilities and the ability to service cargo and charter aircraft transporting troops, equipment and supplies are vital to ensure that NATO countries are able to deploy their forces and equipment rapidly to wherever they are needed.

Indeed, U.S. military aircraft have been using Ławica as a kind of cargo hub in the recent period, reinforcing the NATO eastern flank. The number of visits has had spikes during periods associated with military exercises, like this year’s Defender Europe-21 and, most probably, the airlifters’ visit last weekend was related to this operation.

Notably, Ławica can handle three airlifters at once – two C-5Ms belonging to the ICAO Code F category, along with a C-17. This speaks to the strategic capacity that the Poznan airport offers and that could be usable in the event of a potential crisis. Let us recall the fact that the C-5M is a Code F aircraft. ICAO classification within that regard states that Code F airframes have wingspans of at least 65 meters. Furthermore, the outer main gear wheel span is 14 but less than 16 meters. There are two more Code F airframes in existence – An-225 and An-124. Ławica did host these in the past as well.

Poznan Airport
U.S. Air Force C-5M on the apron at Poznan.
About Jacek Siminski
Standing contributor for TheAviationist. Aviation photojournalist. Co-Founder of DefensePhoto.com. Expert in linguistics, Cold War discourse, Cold War history and policy and media communications.