|LOT launches two of five planned EX-YU routes|
LOT Polish Airlines today resumes flights from its hub in Warsaw to Belgrade and Zagreb, six months after the services were cancelled as part of the carrier's restructuring process. Furthermore, on March 1, LOT will introduce flights to Ljubljana and will run seasonal services to the Croatian coast over the summer months. The Polish carrier is aiming to attract transit passengers to the United States and Far East on its flights from the Serbian, Croatian and Slovenian capitals, as it continues to build its network around a hub structure. It will introduce flights to Tokyo in under two weeks and plans to launch services to Bangkok and Seoul this year too, which will complement existing long haul routes to New York, Toronto and Chicago. "We want to be the new LOT in new Europe based on a Warsaw hub", LOT CEO, Marcin Celejewski, said recently. Flights to Belgrade will initially run four times per week, before increasing to daily operations next summer, while the Zagreb route will run five times per week before it too is upgraded to daily services over the summer. Simmilarly, the airline will launch Ljubljana five times per week, increasing to six weekly services a month later.
LOT will compete directly against Air Serbia and Adria Airways on its flights between Warsaw, Belgrade and Ljubljana. However, the Polish carrier will maintain codeshare agreements with both airlines. Air Serbia struggled on its Warsaw route prior to LOT's suspension. However, the competition-free six months it enjoyed will allow it to better position itself against its Polish counterpart this time around. LOT codeshares on Air Serbia’s flights between Warsaw and Belgrade, as well as services from Belgrade to Abu Dhabi, Podgorica and Tivat. In return, Air Serbia codeshares on LOT’s services from the Polish capital to Vilnius, Tallinn and Riga. On the other hand, the Warsaw-based airline returns to Ljubljana following a nine-year hiatus. It will go head-to-head against its Star Alliance partner Adria, which itself resumed the route after three years in March 2014. During the nine months until the end of 2014, it handled some 10.000 passengers on the route. LOT will continue to codeshare on Adria's Ljubljana - Warsaw service.
The Polish carrier faces a less competitive environment on its services to Zagreb, being the sole operator. Croatia Airlines will codeshare on flights from Zagreb to Warsaw and onwards to Frankfurt, Munich and Vienna, while LOT has placed its flight numbers on the Croatian carrier’s services from Zagreb to Split, Dubrovnik, Frankfurt, Munich and Vienna. LOT will also run seasonal flights from Warsaw to Split and Zadar starting in late April, which will be available until the end of October. It will operate the flights in response to the ever growing tourist traffic between Poland and Croatia. “Today the journey to the Adriatic coast takes at least a dozen or so hours spent behind the wheel. As early as April it will take just two hours on a comfortable direct flight. We are the first carrier to connect Split and Zadar not only with Warsaw, but also with other cities in Poland and Europe to which we fly. For example, between Krakow and Zadar, LOT offers just a 35-minute transfer”, LOT's acting spokesman, Adrian Kubicki, says.