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LOT Polish Airlines: new LA service highlights value of long haul; short haul heat from LCCs remains

On 3-Apr-2017 LOT launched its longest direct service, between Warsaw and Los Angeles, deploying Boeing 787-8 aircraft. Los Angeles is LOT’s fourth North American destination and its first regular service to any US west coast destination. It is also the only direct flight anywhere between Central Europe and the US west coast. Warsaw-Newark and Krakow-Chicago route launches will follow later in summer 2017.

As it is with its other long haul routes, which also include three Asian destinations, LOT is aiming the new LA service not only at O&D traffic from Warsaw, but also squarely at passengers travelling to Southern California from across the Central European region. LOT is the only significant long haul operator in the region and the only one serving Los Angeles. Its Warsaw Chopin hub is the only airport between Vienna and Moscow with more than 1,000 long haul flights per year.

On short/medium haul, competition from LCCs Ryanair and Wizz Air is intense. Both have more seat capacity in Poland than LOT, whose new unbundled fare structure reflects the need to adopt some of their tactics. Long haul, where there is far less competition for LOT, is set to remain its strategic growth priority.

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