|LOT suspends Belgrade and Zagreb flights until 2016|
LOT Polish Airlines will temporarily suspend services from Warsaw to both Belgrade and Zagreb as a result of restructuring. In addition to the two routes, flights from Warsaw to Chisinau, Yerevan and Dusseldorf will also be terminated. However, the airline has underlined that all of the routes remain within LOT’s network and that services to Belgrade and Zagreb will resume in 2016. The final service to both the Serbian and Croatian capital cities is planned for June 30. Ticket sales have been terminated thereafter. “LOT has made the decision to announce changes to the timetable with as much notice as possible for passengers”, the airline said in a statement.
LOT cites restructuring as the reason behind the abrupt suspensions. The plan, which has been rubberstamped by the European Commission, obliges the airline to implement its last round of compensatory measures, essentially forcing the carrier to make changes to its schedule. Every European Union airline which receives state aid has to implement similar measures, the carrier said. “LOT is in contact with the European Commission and is going ahead according to current regulations”, the statement reads. LOT maintains that EU restrictions will last only until the end of the year, with the airline expected to announce new routes from 2016 in the next couple of months.
The Polish national carrier launched flights to Belgrade in 2010. Last year, Air Serbia challenged LOT on the route by launching flights to Warsaw. However, the Polish carrier has outperformed its Serbian counterpart, which has struggled on the route. During the first quarter, LOT operated 53 return flights from Belgrade, up 31% on last year and will maintain daily services to the city until its suspension at the end of June. On the other hand, the Polish carrier launched five weekly flights to Zagreb this April following the demise of EuroLOT, which maintained daily services from Warsaw. LOT will boost its Zagreb operations to daily from June 4 until its temporary suspension. Last month, both LOT and Croatia Airlines entered a codeshare partnership, with the Polish carrier adding its flight numbers and code onto Croatia Airlines’ services from Zagreb to Split, Dubrovnik, Frankfurt, Munich and Vienna. On the other hand, the Croatian carrier placed its codes and flight numbers onto LOT’s services between Zagreb and Warsaw, as well as from Warsaw to Frankfurt, Munich and Vienna.