LOT Polish Airlines to Restructure, Downsize Fleet by 38%
Poland’s national air carrier, LOT Polish Airlines, will shrink its fleet by roughly half in an effort to regain profitability, the country’s Treasury Minister, Mikolaj Budzanowski, told the national assembly (ZgromadzenieNarodowe) on Friday. The announcement followed an emergency loan from the government in order to keep LOT afloat.
LOT was the first European airline to receive and fly the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the airline’s first transatlantic launch Dreamliner flight is scheduled for January 16 from Chicago to Warsaw. Its also has older Boeing 737 classic aircraft as well as Embraer regional jets.
Budzanowski said that LOT will return 15 of its 40 aircraft to leasing companies and significantly reduce headcount. Another government-controlled airline will take over LOT’s
In mid-December, LOT’s sales director Tomasz Dakowski was quoted as saying that the airline would phase out its Boeing 737 classic and 767 aircraft as more 787 Dreamliners arrived.
Earlier in the month, LOT’s board dismissed its CEO, Marcin Piróg and said it would be applying government aid to ensure “smooth operations for the benefit of passengers and clients” going forward. The airline promised a radical restructuring as a condition of receiving the aid. A few days later, the Polish government gave LOT 400 million zloty ($127 million) in aid in the form of a loan. The European Commission is reviewing the aid package to see if it is in accordance with the EU’s competition rules.
The Polish government directly and indirectly controls 93% of LOT’s shares and has been shopping around for an investor.