March 31 started the 2019 summer season in general aviation. Pilots, cabin crews and ground personnel of Polish LOT Airlines are getting ready to handle a whooping 75 thousands of scheduled flights on domestic, european and transcontinental routes. Until the end of the year, lot is expected to serve as many as 10 million passengers.
Among the new major destinations is Miami FL, USA. Regular connection to the Sunshine State’s capital will serve not only Europeans going sunbathing in Florida or looking for a Carribean holiday but also the large Polish-American community in Florida as well as a growing number of travellers heading for increasingly popular destinations in Latin America.
Looking east, LOT is opening new routes to New Dehli, India and Colombo, Sri Lanka. Flights from Europe to India are very competitive, as the destination grows in popularity among Poles and Central Europeans who are travelling to South Asia more frequently for business as well as for leisure. Sri Lanka on the other hand is a typical vacation spot for people who enjoy nature and wildlife.
A couple of new long-haul routes will also open. Daily flights will start from Warsaw’s Chopin Airport to Tokyo and Los Angeles, while three additional flights will be added between Toronto and Warsaw. The frequency of direct flights between Kraków and Chicago will also increase.
Starting from mid-June Polish LOT Airlines will return to Beirut, Lebanon. For 12 long years, Lebanon was not listed among the Vatican’s official pilgrimage sites which features 20 locations around the world. Lebanon was put back on the list this year and there is already a notable increase of Christians travellers who want to visit and pray at holy sites in the Middle East. According to the LOT Airlines press office, 48% of tickets for flight to Lebanon are booked by tourist groups.
The core strategy of Polish LOT Airlines is to become a major hub for passengers in the Central and Eastern Europe. To achieve this, LOT is increasing the number of connections to Budapest to 6 a day. In many cases, the Hungarian capital city serves as an alternative base for LOT’s point to point flights.
No wonder the growing network of connections attracts more and more passengers to services provided by Polish LOT Airlines. In 2017 LOT carried 6,8 mln passengers. 2018 finished with a 30% increase to 8.9 million passengers. Analysts say that the company’s target of more than 10 million passengers in 2019 is realistic despite a shorter flight season than in 2018.
However, Polish LOT Airlines has to tackle a problem that is becoming increasingly common for European carriers – delays.
Due to increased traffic over Europe, and lack of ground personnel, 26% of flights are currently delayed for more than 15 minutes. To put it into perspective, european air traffic grew has grown by 14% in the last year and more than 300 million of european passengers have experienced problems associated with bottlenecks. Polish LOT Airlines is up to the challenge and declares that it will to focus on punctuality of flights and overall passenger comfort.