LOT Polish Airlines

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LOT Polish Airlines
Polskie Linie Lotnicze LOT
LOT Polish Airlines logo.svg
IATA
LO
ICAO
LOT
Callsign
LOT
Founded 1 January 1929
Hubs Warsaw Chopin Airport
Frequent-flyer program Miles & More
Airport lounge Executive Lounge
Alliance Star Alliance
Subsidiaries
Fleet size 37
Destinations 49 (and 4 seasonal)
Company slogan 'Naszym horyzontem jest przyszłość' (Polish) 'The future is our horizon' (English)[1]
'Pierwsza europejska linia lotnicza na lot Boeing 787 Dreamliner' (Polish) 'First European Airline to fly the Boeing 787 Dreamliner' (English) [2]
Parent company State Treasury of Poland
Headquarters Warsaw, Poland[3]
Key people
  • Sebastian Mikosz (CEO)
  • David Garcia (CCO)
  • Ewa Kolowiecka (COO)
  • Maciej Dziudzik (CFO)
Revenue Increase PLN 3.306 billion (2012)[4]
Net income Decrease PLN -399.9 mio. (2012)[4]
Profit Increase PLN -146.5 mio. (2012)[5]
Website www.lot.com

Polskie Linie Lotnicze LOT S.A. (Polish pronunciation: [ˈlɔt], Flight), trading as LOT Polish Airlines, is the flag carrier of Poland. Based in Warsaw, LOT was established in 1929, making it one of the world's oldest airlines still in operation. Using a fleet of 55 aircraft, LOT operates a complex network to 60 destinations in Europe, the Middle East, North America, and Asia. Most of the destinations are served from its hub, Warsaw Chopin Airport.

As Poland made the transition to democracy from 1989, the airline began a transformation from a Soviet-controlled carrier to a European flag carrier. LOT started a process of fleet renewal with the purchase of Western aircraft to replace old Soviet models. With the arrival of the first Boeing 767-300ER, LOT started inter-continental services to Chicago, Newark, Toronto, and New York City. These four main routes have been some of the most popular flights that LOT operates, especially during the summer season when many Poles seek to come back to their homeland for vacation.

LOT found itself undergoing constant management change in the late 2000s due to worsening financials and reductions in market share. After placing orders for several Boeing 787 aircraft and taking delivery of two, the carrier has found itself "nearly insolvent" due to the January 2013 grounding of the 787.[6]

History[edit]

Pre-war LOT of the second republic[edit]

Passengers disembark a pre-war LOT Douglas DC-2 aircraft.

The airline was established on 1 January 1929 by the Polish government as a state-owned self-governing corporation taking over existing domestic lines Aero and Aerolot, and started operations on 2 January with services (additional to those previously operated by Aero and Aerolot) to Bydgoszcz and Katowice.[7] The first aircraft used were Junkers F.13 and Fokker F.VII. Its first international service began on 2 August 1929 to Vienna.[7] It was also at this point in time that LOT's well-renowned logo (designed by a visual artist from Warsaw, Tadeusz Gronowski, and still in use today) was picked as the winning entry of the Airline's logo design competition. Accepted into IATA in 1930, LOT opened an international route to Bucharest that year, followed by Berlin, Athens, Beirut, Helsinki, Rome and some others.

In 1931 the stork and Gronowski's logo were officially recognised by the company's corporate leadership as the emblem of LOT Polish Airlines, and in the same year the company's first multi-segment flight along the route Warsaw - Lwów - Czerniowce – Bucharest was launched. Douglas DC-2, Lockheed Model 10A Electra and Model 14H Super Electra joined the fleet in 1935, 1936 and 1938 respectively (at its peak, LOT had 10 Lockheed 10, 10 Lockheed 14, 3 DC-2 and 1 Ju 52/3mge). The airline had carried 218,000 passengers by the outbreak of war.[7] In 1934, after five years of operating under the LOT name, the airline received new head offices, technical facilities, hangars, workshops and warehouses located at the new, modern Warsaw Okęcie Airport. This constituted a move from the airline's previous base at Pole Mokotowskie as this airport had become impossible to operate safely due to the way in which it had gradually become absorbed into Warsaw's outlying urban and residential areas.[8]

In 1938 LOT changed its name, in accordance with the Polish spelling reform of that year from Polskie Linje Lotnicze 'LOT' to Polskie Linie Lotnicze 'LOT'; in the same year a well-publicised transatlantic test flight, aimed at judging the feasibility of introducing passenger service on the Poland-United States route, was carried out by LOT pilots and crew. Services were suspended during the Second World War, and all of LOT's aircraft were either destroyed or detained in Romania.

LOT during the People's Republic[edit]

A LOT Ilyushin Il-18 landing at Rome Ciampino Airport. (1977)

On 10 March 1945 the Polish government recreated the LOT airline. In 1946, 7 years after the service was suspended, the airline restarted its operations after receiving 10 Lisunov Li-2, then further 30 Li-2 and 9 Douglas C-47. Both domestic and international services restarted that year, first to Berlin, Paris, Stockholm and Prague.[9] 5 Sud-Est Languedoc joined the fleet in July 1947, followed by 5 Ilyushin Il-12B in April 1949, at which point LOT also introduced a new service to Brussels; 13-20 Ilyushin Il-14s then followed in 1955-1957.[9] However, after the stalinist period in Poland, very few Western aircraft were acquired; 5 Convair 240 in October 1957 and 1959 and 3 Vickers Viscount in November 1962, and from that point onwards the composition of the airline's fleet shifted to Soviet-produced aircraft only.[10] In 1955 LOT inaugurated new services to Moscow and Vienna, thus connecting the Polish capital with two major European cities, and with regard to the former, the centre of the Marxist-Leninist world. Services to London and Zürich were not re-established until 1958.

A LOT Tupolev Tu-134 on approach to Frankfurt in 1974.
A LOT Ilyushin Il-62 on stand at Cairo International Airport in 1978.

Nine Ilyushin Il-18 turboprop airliners were introduced in May 1961, leading to the establishment of routes to Africa and Middle East, and by 1963 LOT had expanded its routes to serve the Middle East cities - Cairo, Baghdad, Beirut, Benghazi, Damascus and Tunis. The Antonov An-24 was delivered from April 1966 (20 used, on domestic routes), followed by the first jet airliners Tupolev Tu-134 in November 1968 (which coincided with the opening of a new international terminal at Warsaw's Okęcie Airport). The Tu-134s were operated on European routes. The Ilyushin Il-62 long range jet airliner and Charter flights inaugurate the first transatlantic routes in the history of Polish air transport in 1972. The introduction of Il-62 aircraft enabled, for the first time in LOT's history, the establishment of transatlantic services to New York City in 1973. LOT began service on its first Far-East destination - Bangkok via Dubai and Bombay in 1976.

In 1978 the airline's current livery (despite occasional changes, notably in corporate typography) designed by Roman Duszek and Andrzej Zbrożek, with the large 'LOT' inscription in blue on the front fuselage, and a blue tailplane was introduced,[10] the 1929-designed Tadeusz Gronowski logo,[11] however, despite many changes in livery, was kept through the years, and to this day remains the same.[12]

In Autumn, 1981 air transportation collapsed and some Western airlines suspended their connections with Warsaw; then on 13 December of the same year, all LOT Polish Airlines connections were suspended. In 1984 charter flights to New York and Chicago were resumed, then eventually regular flight connections were restored on 28 April 1985. Tupolev Tu-154 mid-range airliners were acquired, after the withdrawal of Il-18 and Tu-134 aircraft from LOT's fleet, in the 1980s and were deployed successively on most European and Middle East routes. In 1986 transatlantic charter flights also reached Detroit and Los Angeles.

Original logo design from 1929, by Tadeusz Gronowski

Post-1989 LOT Polish Airlines[edit]

After the fall of the communist system in Poland in 1989 the fleet shifted back to Western aircraft, beginning with acquisitions of the Boeing 767-200 in April 1989,[13] followed by the Boeing 767-300 in March 1990, ATR 72 in August 1991, Boeing 737-500 in December 1992 and finally the Boeing 737-400 in April 1993. From the mid-1980s to early 1990s LOT flew from Warsaw to Chicago, Edmonton, Montreal, Newark, New York and Toronto. These routes were primarily inaugurated to serve the large Polish communities (Polonia) present in North America.

The acquisition of Boeing 767 series aircraft made LOT the second airline in the former communist states of Central Europe to operate American equipment (the first was Malév Hungarian Airlines, which acquired a Boeing 737-200 as early as on 18 November 1988[14]). These new aircraft were, at one point, used to operate LOT's longest-ever connection to Singapore. By the end of 1989 LOT had achieved much, it had hosted that year's IATA congress and achieved a milestone annual load-factor of 2.3 million passengers carried over the course of the year.

LOT's acquisition of long-range Boeing 767 airliners allowed it to reposition itself as a transit airline.

In 1990 LOT's third Boeing 767-300 landed at Warsaw Chopin Airport and not long after Boeing 737 and ATR 72 aircraft were acquired for use on LOT's expanded route network, which began to include new international destinations such as Kiev, Lviv, Minsk and Vilnius. Soon thereafter, in 1993, LOT began to expand its Western-European operations, inaugurating, in quick succession, flights to Oslo, Frankfurt and Düsseldorf, operations at Poland's other regional airports outside Warsaw were also duly expanded around this time.

By December 1992 the airline became a joint stock company, as a transitional step towards partial privatisation, which was effected in late 1999, State Treasury - 67.97% of shares in the company; Regionalny Fundusz Gospodarczy S.A. - 25,1%; the employees - 6.93%. In 1994 the airline signed a code-sharing agreement with American Airlines on flights to and from Warsaw as well as onward flights in the United States and Poland operated by both companies; flights to Thessaloniki, Zagreb and Nice were inaugurated, and according to an IATA report, in this year LOT had the youngest fleet of any airline in the world. After years of planning, in 1997 LOT set up a sister airline, EuroLOT, which, essentially operating as its parent airline's regional subsidiary, took over domestic flights. The airline was developed with the hope that it would increase transit passenger-flow through Warsaw's Chopin Airport, whilst at the same time providing capacity on routes with smaller load factors and play a part in developing LOT's reputation as the largest transit airline in Central and Eastern Europe. By 1999 LOT had purchased a number of small Embraer 145 regional jets in order to expand its short-haul fleet, and had, with the approval of the Minister of the State Treasury, begun a process of selling shares to the Swiss company SAirGroup Holding, this then led to the airline's incorporation into the then-nascent Qualiflyer Group.

LOT became the eleventh full member of Star Alliance in 2003.

Expansion of LOT's route network continued in the early 2000s and the potential of the airline's hub at Warsaw Chopin Airport to become a major transit airport was realised with more and more success. In 2000 LOT took delivery of its largest ever order of 11 aircraft and by 2001 had reached a milestone passengers-carried figure of 3 million customers in one year; such an expansion led to the reconstruction of much of LOT's ground infrastructure, and by 2002 a new central Warsaw head office was opened on Ul. 17 Stycznia. On 26 October 2003, LOT, after the collapse of the Qualiflyer Group, became the 14th member of the Star Alliance. By 2006 a new base of operations, with the reconstruction of Warsaw Chopin Airport, had opened, thus allowing LOT's full transit airline potential to be developed for the first time ever. The new airport is much larger than any previous airport in Poland and has since provided LOT passengers with comfortable, high-quality service. In that same year Pope Benedict XVI returned to Rome on a LOT flight following his pilgrimage to Poland.

LOT created low-cost arm Centralwings in 2004,[15] however, the company was dissolved and reincorporated into LOT after just five years of operating due to its long-term unprofitability and LOT's wish to redeploy aircraft within its own fleet.

Recent developments[edit]

Upon taking delivery of its first plane in 2004, LOT became the world's first operator of the Embraer 170.

In 2008 LOT opened a new flight to Beijing, however this lasted just a month, in the period prior to the Olympics. The reason for failure to continue this service was given as the need to route aircraft via an air corridor to the south of Kazakhstan (as LOT did not have permission for flights over Siberia from the Russian government) which was making the services too long and thus unprofitable.[16]

LOT started new services to Yerevan, Armenia, Beirut, Lebanon and resumed Tallinn, Estonia, Kaliningrad, Russia, Gothenburg, Sweden and Bratislava, Slovakia with its newly acquired Embraer aircraft in summer 2010, and in October of the same year LOT resumed service to Asia, with three weekly flights on the Warsaw – Hanoi route. In addition to this, new services to Tbilisi, Damascus and Cairo were inaugurated.

LOT celebrated the 80th anniversary of its foundation in 2009. The event was marked by the application of a special gold livery to one of the airline's Boeing 737s.

In 2010 LOT cancelled flights, after 14 years of operation, between Kraków and the US destinations of Chicago and New York, citing profitability concerns and not lack of demand as the reason for the routes' cancellation. The last US-Kraków flight departed on 27 October 2010 from Chicago O'Hare. The aircraft previously used on this route were then re-deployed to serve LOT's Warsaw-Hanoi route.[17] This route to Hanoi (the Vietnamese capital) was largely under-utilised by European carriers and has proved very successful for LOT in the beginning.

On 31 May 2010, CEO of LOT Sebastian Mikosz stated that the airline will be replacing its fleet to meet a goal of one-third new by 2011. Replacement already started with Embraer E-Jets 175/170. Mikosz also stated that negotiations with three leasing companies had begun, as LOT wants to replace its twenty-year-old 737s classics and ATRs. Highly possible replacement aircraft for both types of the 737s is the 737NG or mix of A319s and A320s. However, since then LOT has converted some Embraer 175 orders to the larger 195 and this is now considered to also be a possible replacement type for LOT's older aircraft. For domestic expanded operations, LOT seeks to purchase Dash 8-Q400 or additional ATR 72-600 aircraft. The first two Boeing 787 Dreamliners are currently planned to arrive 30 November 2012, with another three being delivered by February 2013.

A LOT Boeing 767-300 departs Gdańsk Lech Wałęsa Airport, September 2010.

On 5 February 2011, new CEO of LOT Marcin Piróg announced that the airline is considering, in the near future, to open service to Baku, Sochi, Stuttgart, Oslo, Gothenburg, Dubai, Kuwait and Ostrava from its Warsaw hub. Previously planned flights to Donetsk in Ukraine have already been inaugurated. LOT currently has plans to open routes to Tokyo, Beijing and Shanghai as soon as its first 787s arrive in 2012. This has now become feasible since the initialling of an agreement on Siberian overflight permits for LOT by the Polish and Russian governments in November 2011.[18] As a result of the new agreement, LOT will receive new take-off and landing slots at Moscow's Sheremetyevo International Airport and will begin service on a re-instated, improved Beijing service once Aeroflot begins service to Kraków on 1 June 2012. A previously planned flight to Tokyo will not, according to current plans held by Polish civil aviation officials, be inaugurated by LOT in 2012, however this could change at short notice as the Siberian overflight agreement also provides LOT with permission for routes to Japan.

Other possible destinations for the near term include Seoul, Shenzhen, Bangkok, Singapore, Delhi and Washington DC, however these are all dependent on the delivery of Boeing 787 aircraft.[19][20]

In 2010/11 LOT also announced its new 'East meets West' route expansion policy, which will see the airline add a number of new Asian destinations to its schedule over the coming years. The policy aims to take advantage of LOT's perspectives as a transit airline and the substantial passenger growth seen on Europe-Asia flights in recent years. Also, in line with this policy LOT will be introducing, for the first time, a premium economy class once it takes delivery of its Boeing 787 aircraft. Additionally lie-flat seats will be available in business class and all of the airline's new long-haul aircraft will be fitted with Thales personal entertainment systems.[21]

LOT decided to halt service to Hanoi in February 2012 and will phase out their Hanoi destination in March 2012.[citation needed]

In June 2012 LOT announced all services to New York would be centralisted from Newark and JFK Terminal 4 to JFK Terminal 1 from October 2012.[22] It would also enter into a code-share agreement with Jetblue to increase the number of onward connections available to its customers. In July 2012 it was announced that a planned sale of a major stake in the airline to Turkish Airlines would not go ahead. The main problem was the inability of Turkish Airlines to own a majority stake as it is a Non-EU company.[23][24] The airline is now again seeking a partner to take a major stake, likely a fellow EU airline.

Corporate affairs[edit]

The company head office is in Warsaw.[25]

Privatisation[edit]

The head office of LOT

Currently, the Polish government owns 68% of shares in LOT; Regionalny Fundusz Gospodarczy S.A. owns 25%; employees own 6.93%. It was intended to privatise LOT in 2011.[26] Although advanced talks were undertaken with Turkish Airlines a deal failed to materialise. This was largely due to the inability of Turkish Airlines, as a non-EU airline, to buy a majority of the airline.[23] If they fail to find a new buyer the airline may be floated.[24] LOT lost 145.5 million pln in 2011, compared to a 163.1 million pln loss in 2010.

Subsidiaries[edit]

  • Eurolot, a formerly wholly owned subsidiary airline, founded on 1 July 1997. The Polish Treasury currently owns 62.1 percent while LOT retains 37.9 percent. However, it was confirmed in July 2012 that LOT wishes to sell its remaining stake in Eurolot, as part of its privatization scheme[27]
  • Centralwings, a low-cost subsidiary that was operational between 2004 and 2009.
  • LOT Charters, wholly owned subsidiary operating charter flights for Polish touroperators.

Awards[edit]

The high quality of services and professionalism of LOT crews have been honoured a number of times. In 1996 "Business Travel World" recognised LOT as the best airline in Central and Eastern Europe in Business Class. LOT received the same award in consecutive years: 1997, 1998 and 1999. In 1998 LOT for the first time became a laureate of the “Business Traveller” award for the Best Eastern European Airline. From that year it has been receiving the same award every single year. In 2007 the biggest air travel website in Poland - Pasazer.com awarded LOT with the title of “Best Network Airline in the year 2006”. LOT’s offer for business travellers has also been awarded as well as LOT won the title "Best Airline in Central and Eastern Europe" by OAG in 2001, 2002 and 2009.

Destinations[edit]

Codeshare agreements[edit]

LOT Polish Airlines has codeshare agreements with the following airlines (as of July 2014):

Fleet[edit]

Current fleet of LOT Polish Airlines

Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner SP-LRB of LOT Polish Airlines.
A LOT Embraer E-170 landing at London Heathrow Airport, England. (2007)
A Boeing 737 in a special livery, designed to celebrate the airline's 80th anniversary. (2010)
A Eurolot-operated Dash Q400 at Frankfurt Airport. (2012)

Current[edit]

As of March 2014, the LOT Polish Airlines fleet consists of the following aircraft with an average age of 5.6 years:[29][30][31]

LOT Polish Airlines Fleet
Aircraft In Service Orders Passengers Notes
J W Y Total
Boeing 737-400 3 var. var. 162 To be phased out by 2016.
Boeing 787-8 6[32] 2[33] 18 21 213 252[34] First European Airline to operate the Boeing 787 Dreamliner
Embraer E-170 10 var. var. 70 Launch customer
Embraer E-175 12 var. var. 82 One is in a special '600th E-Jet' livery.
Two are flying for Polish Government.
Embraer E-195 6 var. var. 112
Total 38 2

Orders[edit]

  • On 7 September 2005 the airline ordered 7 (with 2 options and 5 purchase rights) Boeing 787-8s for its long haul operations.[35] On 19 February 2007 the airline converted 1 option to make a total of 8 787s on order.[36] On March 7, 2011 Boeing officially notified LOT Polish Airlines that the delivery of the 787 would be delayed for another year. The airline planned to use the 787 on its Warsaw-Chicago route on 16 January 2013,[37] but the type was grounded on that same day due to issues with its batteries. On 25 April 2013, LOT announced that it will resume its 787 service on 5 June 2013.[38]
  • On 4 May 2010, LOT converted 4 Embraer E-175 orders, to 4 Embraer E-195 orders. The delivery of these aircraft began in March 2011.
  • On 8 June 2010 the Ministry of National Defence of the Republic of Poland leased 2 E-175 aircraft from LOT to be used to transport the highest officials of Poland, after 2010 Polish Air Force Tu-154 crash on 10 April 2010 killing the President of Poland, Lech Kaczynski, his wife, and many other high-ranking officials. The lease is to end in 2013, while there is an option for the Government to shorten the lease or extend it. One of the aircraft already had its maiden flight under the colors of the Polish Government.

Fleet development[edit]

A LOT Tupolev Tu-134 in 1985; now retired

Over the years, LOT operated the following aircraft types:

Aircraft Introduced Retired Notes
Antonov An-12[39]
1967[40]
Antonov An-24[39]
1966[41]
1991
[citation needed]
Antonov An-26[39] cargo aircraft leased from Polish Air Force[citation needed]
Antonov An-32
[citation needed]
ATR 72[14][29]
1991
2001
transferred to Eurolot
Beech 1900D
Boeing 737-300[14][29]
1996
2005
Boeing 737-400[14][29]
1993
Boeing 737-500[14][29]
1992
2013
Boeing 767-200[14][29]
1989
2008
acquired following the lifting of the CoCom trade embargo on civilian airliners
Boeing 767-300[14][29]
1990
2013
Boeing 787[14][29]
2012
European launch customer
Cessna Bobcat[40]
1946[40]
Used for taxi flights and scheduled services[40]
Convair CV-240[39]
1957[10]
Douglas C-47 Skytrain[39]
Douglas DC-2[39]
1935[42]
Douglas DC-8[14][29]
1987
1988
one single cargo aircraft leased from Arrow Air
Douglas DC-10[14][29]
1994
1996
Lockheed L-1011[14][29]
1995
1998
leased from British Airways
Embraer ERJ-145[14][29]
1999
2011
Embraer 170[14][29]
2004
Embraer 175[14][29]
2006
Embraer 195[14][29]
2011
Fokker F.VII[43]
1929
6 F.VIIa ex-Aero and 10 licence built F-VIIb-3m[43]
Ilyushin Il-12[39]
1949[9]
Ilyushin Il-14[39]
1955[9]
also operated the Avia 14 and the VEB-Il 14, which were produced under licence in Czechoslovakia and East Germany
Ilyushin Il-18[39]
1961[42]
1990
[citation needed]
Ilyushin Il-62[39]
1972[40]
1992
[citation needed]
Junkers F.13[43]
1929
15 ex-Aerolot[42]
Junkers Ju 52[44]
1936[42]
1939[42]
Lisunov Li-2[39]
1946[9]
Lockheed Model 10 Electra[44]
1936[42]
1939[42]
Lockheed Model 14 Super Electra[45]
1938[42]
PWS-24[46]
1933[46]
SNCAC NC.701[40]
1947[40]
Used for survey operations
SNCASE Languedoc[40]
1947[40]
Tupolev Tu-134[39]
1968[40]
1994
[citation needed]
Tupolev Tu-154[39]
1985
[citation needed]
1996
[citation needed]
Vickers Viscount[39]
1962[10]
Yakovlev Yak-40[39]
1982
[citation needed]
1991
[citation needed]

Corporate identity[edit]

An Embraer 170 in LOT's new livery.

LOT's current livery was introduced in the late 1980s and has undergone no major changes since. The livery is essentially a predominantly white scheme with elements of traditional aviation design incorporated. The latter elements are visible in the design of LOT's livery as the area of dark blue under the cockpit's windscreen, the long cheat-line which is painted down the side of each plane and the large traditional logo which is emblazoned on each aircraft's tailplane.

Three of the airline's aircraft, such as this Boeing 767-300 'Poznań', are named after Polish cities.

However, with the delivery of new Boeing 787 long-haul aircraft in 2011/12, LOT has taken the decision to replace its current livery with a new design. This design is intended to retain the tradition and spirit of LOT and there will be no major or radical changes to the livery applied to the airline's planes. The most obvious will be the elimination of the blue nose piece and broad cheat-line which runs down each plane's fuselage and the removal of the 'POLSKIE LINIE LOTNICZE' title from each aircraft's starboard side; these will instead be replaced with the words 'POLISH AIRLINES', analogous to the port-side titles in the airline's current livery composition. The tailplane's design will change only slightly, with the colours of the traditional encircled crane logo being inverted and the circle becoming a more simple outline ring. Additionally, the positioning will be such as the circle (with crane) will not entirely fit on the tail. Finally, the colours of the Polish flag, present at the top of the circle in the current LOT livery, will be moved to the bottom of the tailplane and will not connect with the logo.[47] It is hoped that the design, along with the entry into service of the new high-spec 787s, will help refresh LOT's image in the public eye.

Aircraft naming[edit]

During the period that LOT operated Boeing 767s, some were named in honor of Polish cities. Only the 5 767s ordered new from Boeing were named while the used and short term leased aircraft were not. This practice was not continued upon arrival of LOT's Boeing 787s and the introduction of the airline's updated livery.

Loyalty programme and lounges[edit]

Miles & More[edit]

Main article: Miles & More
Warsaw's LIM Center previously bore large LOT logos on two of its four sides, which were replaced with Bridgestone logos in early 2012.

LOT's frequent-flyer programme is called Miles & More, and is shared among several European airlines, including Austrian Airlines, Adria Airways, Croatia Airlines, Lufthansa, Luxair, Swiss International Air Lines, and Brussels Airlines. Miles & More members may earn miles on LOT flights and Star Alliance partner flights, as well as through LOT credit cards, and purchases made through the LOT Polish Airlines shops. Status within Miles & More is determined by miles flown during one calendar year with specific partners. Membership levels include: Basic (no minimal threshold), Frequent Traveller (Silver, 35,000 mile threshold), Senator (Gold, 100,000 mile threshold), and HON Circle (Black, 600,000 mile threshold over two calendar years). All non-basic Miles & More status levels offer lounge access and executive bonus miles, with the higher levels offering more exclusive benefits.[citation needed]

Polonez Lounge[edit]

LOT operates, in cooperation with PPL (Polish State Airports), the 'Polonez' Business Lounge at Warsaw Chopin Airport. The lounge is accessible to anyone with a business class ticket for travel with LOT or any other Star Alliance member airline, and those who are members of a Star Alliance 'Gold' loyalty programme (such as Miles & More Senator status) or the Polish State Airports authority's 'Good Start' programme. The Polonez lounge recently, in 2010, underwent a major refit and is now claimed to be able to offer high-quality standards of service to all passengers who wish to make use of it. Some examples of services offered to passengers include business conferencing facilities, internet access, work space, local, national and foreign-language media (newspapers and television) and, a new development, individual access to an Apple iPad.[48]

The Polonez lounge's opening hours are currently coordinated with those of LOT's flight schedule, however, it has been stated that these times are open to review at any time and could well be changed in the future. The lounge is located in Chopin Airport's Terminal A, one floor above the departures lounge (in the Schengen zone after security check), and is accessible by stairs and lift.

Incidents and accidents[edit]

Fatal[edit]

  • On 15 November 1951 at approximately 09:00 local time, a LOT Lisunov Li-2 (registered SP-LKA) crashed near Tuszyn in bad weather and low visibility conditions, killing the 15 passengers and three crew on board. The aircraft had been on a scheduled flight from Łódź to Kraków.[49]
  • One passenger died on 19 March 1954, when a LOT Li-2 (registered SP-LAH) collided with a hill near Gruszowiec following the blackout of a radio beacon.[50]
  • On 14 June 1957 at 23:10 local time, LOT Flight 232 from Warsaw to Moscow, which was operated by using an Ilyushin Il-14 (registered SP-LNF) crashed during approach of Vnukovo International Airport in bad weather and visibility conditions, killing five of the eight passengers and four of the five crew members.[51]
  • On 19 December 1962, a LOT Vickers Viscount 804 (registered SP-LVB) crashed upon approaching Warsaw-Okecie Airport after having encountered a stall situation, killing the 28 passengers and five crew members on board. The aircraft had been on a scheduled flight from Brussels to Warsaw with an intermediate stop at East Berlin.[52]
  • On 20 August 1965 at 13:08 UTC, another LOT Vickers Viscount (registered SP-LVA) crashed near Jeuk, Belgium during a thunderstorm. The four people that had been inside the aircraft on a ferry flight from Lille, France to Wrocław were killed.[53]
  • On 2 April 1969 at 16:08 local time, a LOT Antonov An-24W (registered SP-LTF), crashed into Polica, a mountain near Zawoja. The aircraft with 48 passengers and five crew on board had been operating Flight 165 from Warsaw to Kraków when the pilots lost orientation because of a snowstorm. There were no survivors.[54]
  • On 13 May 1977, a LOT Antonov An-12 (registered SP-LZA) operating a cargo flight from Warsaw to Beirut via Varna crashed at approximately 08:45 local time near Aramoun, Lebanon, killing all nine people on board, some of who were working for a Polish secret service. The aircraft had been approaching Beirut International Airport, but the pilots had encountered language difficulties when communicating with the local air traffic controllers, so that they likely lost the orientation. The aircraft was the property of the Polish Air Force and was flown by military pilots and had previously transported weapons for the Lebanese Civil War, when it crashed it was carrying a cargo of veal.[55][56]
  • On 14 March 1980 at around 11:00 local time, LOT Flight 7 from New York City to Warsaw crashed during a landing attempt at Warsaw-Okecie Airport, killing all the 77 passengers and ten crew members that had been on board the Ilyushin Il-62 (registered SP-LAA), including singer Anna Jantar. The pilots had encountered a landing gear problem and started a go-around procedure, during which the no. 2 engine disintegrated, damaging rudder and elevator control lines and causing the Ilyushin to enter an uncontrolled descent.[57]
  • On 26 March 1981, a LOT An-24 (registered SP-LTU) crash-landed near Słupsk following crew lost situational awareness during non-precision twin locator approach, killing one passenger. The other 46 passengers and four crew survived, leaving aircraft through crack in the fuselage. The only person who died in following fire had his legs trapped under broken seats.[58]
  • On May 1987 at 11:12 local time, LOT Flight 5055 from Warsaw to New York crashed in Warsaw, around 5 km from the Warsaw-Okęcie Airport, killing the 172 passengers and 11 crew members on board, what makes it the deadliest accident for both the airline and the country. The aircraft involved, an Ilyushin Il-62 (registered SP-LBG), had encountered an engine explosion, which started a fire in the cargo hold. The pilots had tried to return to Warsaw-Okecie Airport, but lost control due to the extensive damage to the elevators.[59]
  • On 2 November 1988, LOT Flight 703 had to execute an emergency landing on a field near Rzeszów following an engine failure, killing one passenger. The other 24 passengers and four crew on board the An-24 (registered SP-LTD) survived, though most of them received serious injuries.[60]

No fatalities reported[edit]

  • On 26 May 1948, a LOT Lisunov Li-2 (registered SP-LBC) crashed near Popowice.[61]
  • On 28 March 1950, a LOT Douglas C-47 Skytrain (registered SP-LCC) was damaged beyond repair in a crash landing.[62]
  • Only one day later, on 29 March 1950, the airline lost another aircraft (a Lisunov Li-2, registration SP-LBA) in a crash.[63]
  • On 19 May 1952, a LOT Li-2 (registered SP-LBD) was damaged beyond repair in a crash landing near Sowina.[64]
  • On 18 July of the same year, another LOT aircraft had to be written off, this time an Ilyushin Il-12 (registered SP-LHC) following a crash landing at Warsaw-Okecie Airport.[65]
  • On 15 March 1953, a LOT Douglas C-47 (registered SP-LCH) crashed near Katowice.[66]
  • On 14 April 1955, another LOT Li-2 (SP-LAE) crashed near Katowice, with none of the 15 persons on board being killed.[67]
  • On 11 April 1958, a LOT Convair CV-240 (registered SP-LPB) crash-landed near Warsaw and was damaged beyond repair, after it had lost one propeller in mid-flight. There were only four people on board who had operated a training flight with the aircraft; all of them survived.[68]
  • On 25 August 1960, a LOT Li-2 (registered SP-LAL) crashed near Tczew.[69]
  • On 16 December 1963, another LOT Li-2 (registered SP-LBG) was damaged beyond repair when it overshot the runway upon landing at Warsaw-Okecie Airport. The twelve passengers and three crew on board survived.[70]
  • On 24 January 1969 at 17:30 local time, a LOT Antonov An-24 (registered SP-LTE) collided with trees during a landing attempt at Wrocław in poor visibility conditions, and crashed. The aircraft had been operating Flight 149 from Warsaw with 44 passengers and four crew members on board, all of which survived.[71]
  • On 19 April 1973, a LOT An-24 (registered SP-LTN) crashed during a training flight near Rzeszów.[72]
  • On 23 January 1980, a LOT Tupolev Tu-134 (registered SP-LGB) was damaged beyond repair when it overshot the runway upon landing at Warsaw-Okecie Airport and erupted in flames.[73]
  • On 31 December 1993 at 10:20 local time, the Boeing 767-300ER (registered SP-LPA) operating LOT Flight 2 from Warsaw to Chicago received substantial damaged to its nose gear in a hard landing incident at O'Hare International Airport.[74]
  • On 1 November 2011 a Boeing 767-300ER (registered SP-LPC) operating as LOT Flight 16 from Newark Liberty (KEWR) to Warsaw Chopin (EPWA) reported the failure of the hydraulic system that operated the flaps and landing gear. When the backup system was activated, only the flaps were operable.[75][76] All attempts to lower the landing gear failed. This forced the jet to make a belly landing which is rare for modern jetliners.[75] The crew managed to land the aircraft safely with no fatalities or injures. The captain of this flight was Tadeusz Wrona.

Hijackings[edit]

During the Cold War, when Europe was divided by the Iron Curtain, several LOT planes were hijacked and forced to land in a Western country, predominantly in Germany and especially in West Berlin, because of it being situated like an island in the Eastern Bloc. The hijackers were usually not prosecuted there, but could claim for political asylum, along with all other passengers who wished to do so.

  • On 16 September 1949, five armed people forced a LOT flight from Gdańsk to Łódź to divert to Nyköping in Sweden.[77]
  • On 16 December of the same year, another aircraft on the same route was hijacked, this time it diverted to Bornholm Airport in Denmark. Of the 15 passengers and three crew members on board, 16 decided to claim political asylum.[78]
  • On 16 October 1969, a LOT Antonov An-24 (registered SP-LTK) was hijacked by two passengers en route a flight from Warsaw to East Berlin and forced to divert to Berlin Tegel Airport, serving West Berlin.[79]
  • Another hijacking of a LOT An-24 occurred on 20 November of the same year, this time on a flight from Wrocław to Bratislava, when two passengers forced the pilots to land at Vienna International Airport.[80]
  • On 5 June 1970, a LOT An-24 with 24 people on board was hijacked during a flight from Szczecin to Gdańsk and forced to land at Copenhagen Airport, where police forces stormed the airplane and arrested the perpetrator.[81] Only four days later, on 9 June, another hijacking attempt occurred on a LOT flight from Katowice to Warsaw, but the two persons involved could be overpowered.[82]
  • On 7 August 1970, one passenger on board a LOT An-24 flying from Szczecin to Katowice forced the pilots to divert to Germany. As he did not specify his demands any further, the aircraft landed at Berlin Schönefeld Airport in East Germany, where he was arrested.[83]
  • On 19 August 1970, five passengers on board a LOT Ilyushin Il-14 en route a scheduled flight from Gdańsk to Warsaw forced the pilots to divert to Bornholm Airport.[84]
  • On 26 August 1970, three persons on board a LOT An-24 on a flight from Katowice to Warsaw demanded to be taken to Austria. The pilots returned to Katowice Airport instead, where the perpetrators were arrested.[85]
  • On 4 November 1976, a LOT Tupolev Tu-134 (registered SP-LHD) was forced by two passengers to leave its scheduled route from Copenhagen to Warsaw and land at Vienna International Airport instead, where they surrendered to local police forces.[86]
  • On 24 April 1977 another LOT Tu-134 (registered SP-LGA) was hijacked, this time on a flight from Kraków to Nuremberg in West Germany. The pilots returned to Kraków-Balice Airport, where the aircraft was stormed and the hijacker arrested.[87] Another hijacking attempt could be put down on 18 October of that year on board of a LOT An-24 (registered SP-LTH) en route from Katowice to Warsaw.[88]
  • On 30 August 1978, LOT Flight 165 en route from Gdańsk to East Berlin was hijacked by two East German cititzens who forced the pilots to land the Tu-134 involved (registered SP-LGC) at Berlin Tempelhof Airport in West Berlin. Next to the hijackers, another six people decided to claim political asylum, thus making it one of the largest successful escapes over the Berlin Wall.[89]
  • On 4 December 1980, a LOT An-24 (registered SP-LTB) was hijacked during a flight from Zielona Góra to Warsaw and forced to land at Berlin-Tegel Airport.[90] The same aircraft was involved in another hijacking attempt on 10 January 1981, when four passengers demanded to be taken to a Western country during a flight from Katowice to Warsaw. This time, the pilots continued to Warsaw-Okecie Airport, though, where the perpetratos were arrested.[91]
  • Another LOT aircraft (an An-24 registered SP-LTI) was forced to land at Tempelhof Airport on 21 July 1981, after having been hijacked during a flight from Katowice to Gdańsk.[92] Again, on 5 August of that year, another hijacking attempt occurred on board the same aircraft on the same flight, but the perpetrator could be restraint and arrested upon landing at Gdańsk Airport.[93] Only some days later, on 11 August, another hijacking attempt on the same route was taken down, again on a LOT An-24 (registered SP-LTT).[94]
  • On 22 August 1981, a hijacker succeeded in his demands that the aircraft involved (a LOT An-24 registered SP-LTC) be diverted to Berlin-Tegel Airport from its original route from Wrocław to Warsaw.[95] On 18 September of the same year, twelve passengers rioting on board another LOT An-24 (registered SP-LTG) on a flight from Katowice to Warsaw and demanded the aircraft to divert to West Berlin. A Soviet Mil Mi-8 tried to intercept the aircraft before landing at Tegel Airport, but failed to do so.[96] Two similar attempts failed over the following days: On 22 September four passengers tried to hijack a LOT flight from Warsaw to Koszalin, but the pilots returned the An-12 (registered SP-LTK) to Warsaw-Okecie Airport instead, were the perpetrators were arrested.[97] On 29 September, one hijacker demanded the LOT flight from Warsaw to Szczecin to divert to West Berlin; again the pilots landed the An-12 (registered SP-LTP) in Warsaw.[98]
  • On 30 April 1982, eight passengers forced a LOT An-12 (registered SP-LTG), that was operating a flight from Wrocław to Warsaw, to divert to Berlin-Tegel Airport.[99]
  • On 9 June 1982, two hijackers on board a LOT flight from Katowice to Warsaw demanded the pilots to divert to West Germany. Instead, the aircraft landed in Poland were the perpetrators were arrested.[100]
  • On 25 August 1982, two passengers forced the LOT flight from Budapest to Warsaw, that was operated using an Ilyushin Il-18 (registered SP-LSI) to divert to Munich Riem Airport.[101] A similar incident occurred on 22 November of that year, when the flight from Wrocław to Warsaw (operated by the An-24 registered SP-LTK) was forced to land at Berlin-Tegel Airport.[102]
  • On 25 February 1993, a man forced his way into a LOT ATR 42 at Rzeszów-Jasionka Airport during the boarding process for Flight 702 to Warsaw, threatening to detonate a hand grenade. Police forces stormed the aircraft in which there was a total number 30 of people at the time of the assault, during which the perpetrator (who turned out to be unarmed) was shot at and could thus be overpowered.[103]

See also[edit]


References[edit]

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External links[edit]