LOT to put greater focus on EX-YU market


LOT Polish Airlines will significantly bolster its operations to the former Yugoslavia this summer as it adds two new destinations to its network and increases frequencies on almost all existing services. Furthermore, the airline has identified the Balkan region as an important market for its future development. The Polish national carrier will commence six weekly seasonal operations to Dubrovnik this summer, making it its fifth destination in Croatia following Zagreb, Split, Pula and Zadar, the latter three all being maintained only during the summer. "Croatia is becoming more and more popular among our passengers each year and is one of the most common holiday destinations in the Mediterranean basin for Polish travellers. We are convinced that, as a result of LOT's enhanced offer, Poles will be even more willing to visit Croatia, as well as plan a longer vacation or weekend trip", the carrier said. In addition, the airline will boost frequencies on its Warsaw - Zagreb service from ten per week last year to double daily operations this summer.

Another new destination in LOT's network this year is Skopje, which will be served six times per week. The carrier noted that although the new service will provide opportunities for Polish tourists to discover Macedonia in greater numbers, its primary focus is on transfer passengers, in particular those connecting to the United States, Canada and Scandinavia. "LOT will offer passengers from Macedonia the most comfortable connections to Scandinavia and Western Europe, as well as the airports we fly to in North America. We are sure the new offer will meet the expectations of passengers traveling for business and leisure", the airline said. It added that the flights have been scheduled so as to offer fast and convenient connections from Warsaw.

The airline also plans to increase its frequencies to Belgrade this summer from nine to eleven flights per week. "There is no dominant category of passengers on our Belgrade service. It varies based on the day of the week. Of those transferring through Warsaw, the majority of passengers connect onto flights to Toronto and several points in Western Europe", LOT's Sales Manager for Europe & Middle East said. Elsewhere, the airline will add an additional five weekly flights for a total of six to its Podgorica service, which was launched last year. “Our passengers had an opportunity to get to know what Podgorica has to offer during the previous summer season. In our opinion, this destination has such potential that we decided to significantly increase the frequency of our flights there”, the airline said. Finally, LOT will add an additional weekly flight to Ljubljana this summer for a total of six per week. The airline codeshares on its services out of Warsaw with almost all of the national carriers from the former Yugoslavia - Adria Airways, Air Serbia and Croatia Airlines.

Within the region, the Polish carrier has announced it will launch nonstop flights from Budapest to both New York and Chicago this May. Its CEO, Rafał Milczarski, noted that the airline would focus on the Baltic and the Balkan region, which could see similar expansion in the future. Notably, emphasis will be put on cities in the area which serve as hubs for Star Alliance member airlines with whom LOT can cooperate. Both Zagreb and Ljubljana are home to national carriers which are part of the alliance.

Comments

  1. Impressive growth on all markets really. I think they have added new routes to ex-Yu each year for the last 3 or 4 years. Wonder what we might see next from them.

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    1. Hopefully Sarajevo. Like with Aegean, I don't understand why these airlines overlook SJJ. I'm sure they would get nice feed to US and Canada.

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    2. They may also add Pristina...

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    3. We often complain about Skopje but in fact Pristina has a very low presence of legacy airlines. So LOT would be a nice addition.

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    4. True very few legacy airlines present. Swiss, Austrian, Adria, SAS and Turkish only.

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    5. Meanwhile Skopje has Adria, Croatia Airlines, Air Serbia, Qatar Airways, Austrian, CSA, Turkish and soon LOT and Aegean as well.

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    6. Once EU visas are lifted for Kosovo and the economy improves PRN will attract more established airline.

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    7. Well that's gonna take some time.

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    8. Visas should be lifted soon so hopefully we will see more airline the likes of LOT starting flights.

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    9. I hope more Wizz and easy to be honest.

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  2. I think they would be a great solution for Zagreb and flights to the US.

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    1. The B787 would be the perfect aircraft to operate ZAG-JFK route.

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    2. We have already heard how every single airline from XL Airways, United, LOT, Eurowings, Norwegian could/should/will start these flights for four years and counting now.

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    3. Emirates and Turkish have also been mentioned before ;) :D

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    5. Maybe they will all start flights to Zagreb soon! lol

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  3. They will go bust sooner or later.

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    1. ?? What makes you say that?

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    2. He probably thinks just because they are expanding they are loosing money. But this is not true. Cost cutting in every aspect does not mean you will get a profit.

      LOT is expected to post PLN 300 million net profit for last year. LOT has been carrying out a new business strategy that involves launching new flights and boosting revenue while keeping an eye on every penny spent. And it has worked well for them.

      Something the likes of Air Serbia should have done instead of withdrawing on most markets where they have competition and cutting everything they can.

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    3. It's quite amazing how LOT has restructured considering they were facing bankruptcy 3 years ago.

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    4. How they are going to bunkrupt since for the last three years they are following the exact oposite strategy from Air Serbia?

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  4. LOT offers some great fares from Belgrade to Asia too. They are often the cheapest option.

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    1. They need an early morning departure from BEG to improve their connecting flight offer.

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    2. They need a 05.00 departure for western Europe as well.

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    3. 5 AM departure would mean plane spending the night in Belgrade.

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    4. Yes, they have overnight flights to BUD, OTP, SOF.

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  5. LO has grown so well lately not just in ex-Yu but everywhere. Good work.

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  6. Lot is a good airline and it's great to see them back in the game.

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  7. I have never heard anyone is connecting in Warsaw from Belgrade. If they plan to fly 11 times a week, demand must be there, but I still don't see who those passengers are and where do they fly.

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    1. They get a lot of connecting passengers to Polish cities, the Baltics and North America.

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    2. Well they say in the article concerning BEG:

      "Of those transferring through Warsaw, the majority of passengers connect onto flights to Toronto and several points in Western Europe", LOT's Sales Manager for Europe & Middle East said.

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    3. BEG will probably go to double daily next summer.

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    4. I wonder if there would be any demand for them to start flying to INI with a Dash. They could offer good connections to Russia.

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    5. INI could work mostly for Russia and North America.

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    6. @9.14 90% of all passengers on the BEG-WAW-BEG routes are transfer. That is why Air Serbia failed. The route could not rely purely on P2P.

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    7. Well Air Serbia could have picked up transfers from Poland to Montenegro and the Croatian coast.

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    8. 1. That is applicable for 3 months per year
      2. LOT has since introduced all those routes nonstop from Warsaw and Wizz Air is increasingly flying from Poland to ex-Yu. They have flights to Split and soon Podgorica too.

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    9. Doesn't LOT still codeshare on flights from BEG to Podgorica, Tivat, Dubrovnik, Split?

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    10. I don't think so.

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    11. Anyone flown with them long haul. What are they like? Comparable to the Star heavyweights like Lufthansa and Swiss?

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    12. Economy long haul very simmilar to Air Serbia economy long haul.

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    13. LOT long haul has narrow seats in economy similar to Air Transat seat width, bland service and extremely limited movie selection. Very uncomfortable expererience.

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    14. Lično sam putovao sa njima za Toronto i ok su. Sedala su dosta uska, hrana je ok ali piće se plaća. Njihova posada je dosta neljubazna i pomalo arogantna. Inače su bili na vreme u oba smera ali avion nije bio pun. Oko 30 -40 praznih mesta .

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  8. So they will have most flights to Croatia. Good work.

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    1. Yes, they will fly to DBV,SPU,ZAD,PUY and ZAG in Croatia now. NICE!

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    2. Jos im fale rijeka i brac

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    3. Croatian coast is on fire. More and more legacies starting flights this summer.

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    4. ... for 3 months only!

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    5. Not true. More and more airlines start flying in March and April till October.

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  9. Interesting that Adria is holding up on Warsaw route even though they have tough competition from LOT. I'm surprised this is the case as I would not think that the market is that big.

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    1. And Adria seems to be doing well too. They are adding frequencies as well.

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    2. It's a Star Alliance hub.

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    3. So is Athens but there are no flights between the two.

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    4. How many flights to week does Adria operate to WAW?

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    5. This summer it will be 6 per week like LOT. So a total of 12 weekly flights between Ljubljana and Warsaw.

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    6. Nice. Hope it can be sustained.

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    7. And they both codeshare on each others flights. If Adria was not operating this route they would have similar frequencies to LJU as they do to ZAG and BEG.

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    8. So LJU will have more flights than BEG

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    9. One more. Considering the amount of airlines flying to Belgrade vs Ljubljana it's normal since the competition for transfer passengers is much bigger in BEG. Also I assume there must be greater demand for point to point travel between two EU capitals.

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  10. Do they still use Dashes on most of their flights to ex-Yu? Or have they started using jet engine planes.

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    1. Belgrade is operated with jets, their E95 is common these days.

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    2. I think BEG has been operated by jets from day 1. ZAG is now also operated by jets, and Skopje will be too. Not sure about Ljubljana. The other ones are flown with Dashes.

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    3. Belgrade occasionally gets the turboprop, even the Nordica bird came. They are struggling with fleet shortages

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    4. Do they have any narrow bodies on order?

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    5. Besides the MAX they ordered 6 E95.

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    6. 4 737MAX and 6 E195.

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  11. I doubt Lufthansa is happy with this development.

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    1. They are definitely being squeezed out of many transfer passengers from Eastern Europe.

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    2. Biggest victim is OS due to their extremely high costs.

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    3. Agree with above anon. Remember the days Austrian used to be known as the "eastern european specialist airline". They used to shuttle the entire region via Vienna.

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    4. W6 put an end to that.

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    5. @last anon: absolutely NOT true,
      95% of Wizz pax had never seen an airplane from inside before. OS is stil the strongest amongst the foreign non-LC airlines

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    6. @AnonymousFebruary 23, 2018 at 3:27 PM
      I have personally never flown with Wizz, but how can you claim such a thing?

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    7. lol, because i have. Where do u think the pax from TZL,INI,SKP .... came from... its all new pax

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  12. I'm very interested to see how Skopje will work out for them. They seem very confident as they have scheduled 6 weekly flights.

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    1. If they keep it over winter then the route has met their expectations.

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    2. They said it is a seasonal route.

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    3. I think it's more of a case of it being initially scheduled as seasonal but they will look if the numbers are good and then operate it during winter, at least 3x per week.

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  13. Nice uniforms and crew ;)

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  14. Stop 'em please! They are hurting our yields and revenues precious! Don't let 'em fly those huge jungle jets, nothing bigger than Dashes my precoius!

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  15. Just in 2017 LOT announced the launch of 27 connections, including from Warsaw to Los Angeles, Newark, Astana and Singapore, from Budapest to New York City and Chicago, from Krakow to Chicago and from Rzeszow to Newark. Crazy growth indeed.

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    1. They have enough traffic to sustain Chicago - Krakow flights! WOW!

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  16. Haha so LOT and Aegean serve the most points in ex-Yu of the European legacies. More than Austrian, Lufthansa, Swiss...

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    1. Well Swiss wanted to serve all capitals 2 years ago. Opened them and failed on all of them.

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    2. Astonising what a failure Swiss's exyu expansion has been!

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    3. No, that is not true, Austrian is still No 1, and Lufthansa much better then LOT. They fly to Ljubljana (Adria), Zagreb, Rijeka, Pula, Zadar, Split, Dubrovnik, Sarajevo, Belgrade, Priština (Adria)

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  17. LOT is doing what ex-YU airlines should have done.

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    1. You cannot seriously compare Poland with its population and diaspora size to any ex-Yu country.

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  18. If they are expanding because of the 'transfer passengers strategy' they should establish a connection to Sarajevo.

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  19. With LOT now part owner of Nordica I hope we see more of them on the market. They are starting Ohrid this year and I think they fly to a few cities on the Croatian coast. But with LOT knowing the market, I hope they try out some of the capital cities soon.

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    1. I doubt there is much demand from any ex-yu capital to Tallinn.

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    2. Other than a few holiday destinations in Croatia I highly doubt it as well. Nordica is a relatively small airline. They have much more important markets they should launch first.

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  20. They should consider starting Ohrid too.

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    1. Or Banja Luka :D

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    2. Small Planet will fly Warsaw-Ohrid plus I don't think they would want to jepordize loads on Skopje flights.

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    3. And Brač, of course. Maribor, Niš, Osijek and to open Ponikve just for them please.

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  21. Not surprised they are increasing frequencies. There fares are quite good.

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  22. I think they will launch Sarajevo next year.

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    1. If SJJ is more proactive maybe they will. You can't just sit with yoyr hands crossed and expect airlines to flock to you.

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    2. I am starting to wonder what's wrong with Sarajevo. Planned SAS flights have been reduced, TUI has suspended flights, Atlasglobal has suspended flights, Eurowings has cancelled planned Dusseldorf flights. Only flights working and developing are from the Middle East.

      The airport is in need of a major LCC much more than LOT. European ops are also probably being affected by Tuzla.

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  23. “Our passengers had an opportunity to get to know what Podgorica has to offer during the previous summer season. In our opinion, this destination has such potential that we decided to significantly increase the frequency of our flights there”

    Interesting that they have such high praise for Podgorica. Seems like many airlines have discovered it over the last two years.

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    1. Tourism indistry is growing so more and more airlines are coming. Like on the Croatian coast.

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    2. Podgorica is not on the coast.

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    3. But still serves Montenegro coast, as it is one hour driving to most of Montenegrin resorts.

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    4. Exactly. For legacy carrier it makes much more sense to fly to Podgorica. Hour drive from most seaside resorts, more convenient for those visiting mountains and the North plus Podgorica as capital is the biggest market within Montenegro.

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  24. I'm surprised Wizz Air hasn't launched more flights from Warsaw to ex-yu.

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    1. Because they can only carry P2P PAX and there is little demand for that outside of peak summer when Polish tourists go to the Croatian coast. Majority of passengers on flights to LJU, BEG, ZAG and soon SKP are transfers.

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  25. I have only had good experiences with LOT. Nice to see them expanding in the region.

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  26. They are also adding flights to Bucharest, Budapest and Sofia :)

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    1. True.

      OTP - 3 daily
      BUD - 33 weekly (compared to ZAG´s 10 weekly)
      SOF - 19 weekly

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  27. Missed opourtunities for Croatia and Air Serbia.

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