The Gdynia AeroBaltic Airshow is one of the fastest-growing airshows in Europe, already among Poland’s most prestigious aviation events just a few years after the event was conceived. Starting life as a mid-sized seaside show, the event is now split into two sections: a major international airshow at Gdynia Kosakowo Airport and a popular free night display at Gdynia City Beach. These are our tips and recommendations to maximise your enjoyment of the show.
2019 airshow schedule
|Friday 16th August 18:30-22:30||Night air display||Beach|
|Saturday 17th August 10:30-16:30||Main air display||Airport|
|Saturday 17th August 18:30-22:30||Night air display||Beach|
|Sunday 18th August 10:30-16:30||Main air display||Airport|
Several ticket options are available for the main airshow at Gdynia-Kosakowo Airport. Prices start at a very reasonable 25zł for a single adult ticket (about £5 or $6) or 50zł for a family ticket. Carers and children under three go free. A ticket including grandstand seating next to the spotter area costs 50zł, double the standard entry price. VIP packages start at 300zł (about £60 or $75) and increase to 24,000zł per day for parties of 16 attending over multiple days – well out of the budget of most potential attendees.
Perhaps of the most interest to enthusiasts, however, is the Spotter package. For just 200zł (around £40 or $50), this will get you access to the spotter areas at Gdynia City Beach on Friday and Saturday evenings, and at the airport on Friday afternoon, Saturday and Sunday. The airport spotter area includes a small grandstand on the corner of the crowdline and the jet pan.
Unlike many other airshows, there are no earlybird discounts, making the ticketing process refreshingly simple, but bear in mind that parking at the airport costs an additional 10zł per day on each of the main show days, in addition to your ticket. Both standard entry tickets and the spotter package offer particularly good value. Tickets can be purchased through the official website here.
The secondary airshow at Gdynia City Beach is free and is not ticketed, with the exception of the spotter zone. Standalone spotter tickets solely for this part of the airshow are not available.
The closest major airport to Gdynia is Gdansk, about ten miles away. Depending on time of day, this journey cost us between 90zł and 180zł by regular taxi and took around half an hour. Gdynia also has a major train station.
The most convenient way to get to the main airshow at Gdynia-Kosakowo Airport is by car. Ample car parking is available, and with the crowd building up slowly through the day, the traffic flow is good when arriving at the show site. However, traffic was extremely heavy when leaving the venue after the flying dislpay, including via the VIP route.
Traffic around Gdynia City Beach is extremely heavy during the night airshow and parking is very limited. This means that a car is not an ideal way to get to the night show, with most spectators appearing to arrive on foot. As a result, it is practically impossible to watch the full airshow at Gdynia Kosakowo Airport and the night airshow at Gdynia City Beach on the same day.
A shuttle bus from Gdynia’s railway station is another option; the bus leaves at 09:15 for the airport and returns at 18:00. The station is a 20 minute walk from Gdynia City Beach, meaning it would be possible to watch some of the night flying displays after the main airshow, but it would be very unlikely visitors would arrive at the beach in time to catch the first few acts. Our reviewers have not used the shuttle bus service and cannot comment on its reliability.
Where to stay
As the second largest city in its region, there are plenty of hotel options in Gdynia for a range or prices. This includes a number of options within walking distance of the Gdynia City Beach show site, the largest being the Courtyard Gdynia Waterfront. There are no major hotels within walking distance of Gdynia-Kosakowo Airport.
Those who wish to stay on the airport can do so at the show’s official campsite, AeroCamp. Camping is available from Friday morning until Monday morning. Pitches start at 110zł (£22 or £28) for one adult for one night or 170zł for the entire show, with children aged 3-12 being charged half-price. An additional 199zł (£40 or $50) is charged to hire a tent from the organisers. Space for a caravan or motorhome for the entire show, with electricity supply, costs 250zł for up to two people and 50zł for each additional camper thereafter. AeroCamp includes toilets, showers, a covered seating and cooking area and free parking, with access through the VIP entry gate. Our reviewers have not sampled the AeroCamp option, but the campsite appeared to be quite empty for the duration of the 2019 airshow.
At the show
The main airshow site at Gdynia-Kosakowo Airport has a short but deep crowd area with a limited view in some respects. More than half of the crowdline is taken up by hospitality tents, with an open section just to the right of show centre (which is around the aircrew hospitality tent). The grandstand and spotter area has a clear view of the runway, but is located at the furthest point on the crowdline from show centre.
Due to the deep crowdline, pilots at Gdynia AeroBaltic are briefed to fly higher than they may otherwise (the minimum altitude is generally 100ft), which means those behind the hospitality tents can still enjoy a good view. However, those without access to any grandstand or enclosure who wish to have a view of the runway should aim to arrive early, as the short section of open crowdline was full by late morning.
Enthusiasts will also benefit from arriving early and staying late due to the high volume of out-of-hours flying that takes place. In 2019, this included early rehearsal flights before the start of the official flying display on Saturday morning, and again after its completion in the afternoon. On Sunday, there were several high-profile departures shortly after the end of the flying display.
There are several viewing options at Gdynia City Beach, which differs from most airshow venues because show centre is located at the end of the display line. Gdynia City Beach itself becomes extremely busy during the air display, which makes photography (and even walking about) quite challenging. The coastline to the south, which follows the display line, is a more pleasant environment, but does not offer a view of the surface-level pyrotechnics, which are synchronised to the air displays. The end of South Pier also offers an alternative viewpoint, albeit with the same flaw, but is the best spot for any high-energy, high speed displays, which will not enter the bay itself. Remember, when picking your viewing spot, that the pilots treat this as show centre for their B-axis manoeuvres. As such, the spotter pack is invaluable here, being ideally placed to view ground-launched pyro away from the bulk of the crowd.
As it is practically impossible to enjoy both the main airshow and night airshow in full on the Saturday, careful consideration should be given by those wishing to experience both events. We recommend attending Friday’s night show and attending Saturday’s main airshow in full; those watching the arrivals and rehearsals at Gdynia-Kosakowo Airport on Friday afternoon can more easily reposition to the beach on Friday afternoon when traffic is lighter, but it is recommended they leave early and expect to park some distance away from the beach itself.
Gdynia AeroBaltic have an imaginative business model, which allows them to cater both to the general public, with a popular, free event at the waterfront, and to aviation enthusiasts, with a good-value international airshow with a long and varied flying display. This is a model to be celebrated, but it does bring additional complications for those who want to fully experience both sides of the event. Visitors unfortunately have to accept that it is not possible to see everything, but Gdynia AeroBaltic should still offer a full and rewarding airshow experience regardless of this fact.