LOT Polish Airlines will ready a privatisation programme in two weeks (The Warsaw Voice, 03-Feb-2011). During that period, adviser Morgan Stanley will analyse a sale to a sector investor and then a float scenario on the Warsaw Stock Exchange. There are reports of four interested companies, three sector investors and a financial institution.
LOT Polish Airlines shares may be floated on WSE
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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.
Airline disruption: it will happen in the next decade - but no one is preparing for it
Why so unprepared? It seems inconceivable that the structure of an industry with so many artificial constraints can remain intact much past 70 years, while all around it has changed.
This decade alone has been witness to major disruptions in the travel and transportation industries. Most prominent have been in ride sharing – Uber – and in hospitality – Airbnb. Telecommunications, media and music industries have also been turned on their heads; banks and payments are in the firing line; retail generally is being rapidly transformed. There is scarcely an industry whose fundamental structure remains intact. Except the airline industry.
In all cases disrespectful startups, usually applying relatively simple but sophisticated IT solutions, have taken on legacy operations. The legacy industries under attack typically involve extensive capital investment, and are often characterised by significant, unhelpful, and highly intrusive government regulation that restricts competition.
Certainly the legacy airlines have had to deal with a new breed of low cost operations, long and short haul. But almost without exception those legacy operators are still there, fundamentally unchanged.
In terms of other industries, this is no more than fiddling around the margins. And time is running out.