LOT Polish Airlines has announced that it will be establishing a new base in Budapest, Hungary. The Poland-based airline is making its first airport hub outside of the country in response to recent growth and route expansion opportunities. The new hub could position LOT Polish as the new transfer airline of Eastern Europe.
LOT Polish New Base
Over the past few years, LOT Polish has experienced significant growth compared to many other airlines. The carrier has responded to the growth by continuing to expand its operations. In 2018, LOT Polish serviced 8.2 million passengers, a number expected to grow to more than 10 million in 2019. With as many as a quarter million passengers traveling through Budapest, LOT Polish has decided to expand its routes and solidify the Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport (BUD) as their new base in Hungary.
LOT Polish will base Embraer E195 aircrafts at the airport. The strategic move was made as this aircraft is approved to operate on smaller runways seen throughout the Eastern Europe region.
The carrier already operates several routes from Budapest. Routes include New York (JFK), Chicago (ORD), Krakow (KRK), London (LCY), and Warsaw (WAW). The newest routes that will be established as a result of the expansion are Brussels (BRU) and Bucharest (OTP), available on September 2, 2019. LOT Polish will operate daily routes to these destinations, effectively increasing the flight traffic through Budapest.
Rafal Milczarski, CEO of LOT Polish Airlines, stated to ATW, “With these new flights we will start developing transfer traffic via Budapest Airport.” It is a smart way to further establish the airline as the preferred choice for traveling in the region.
New Transfer Airline of Eastern Europe?
It’s not a random coincidence why LOT Polish has been expanding their operations in Eastern Europe, and more specifically claiming Budapest as their newest base. Malev Airline was the flag carrier of Hungary which was shut down in 2012. Ever since, there has been a void in filling the role of a full-service airline in the region. LOT Polish is on track to supply the need for the position. Also, LOT Polish is positioned perfectly to compete with the low-cost competition that also operates in the region such as Wizz Air and Ryanair.
LOT Polish’s strategy can be seen in another European airline, Finnair, who has successfully established itself as the new transfer airline in Northern Europe. Finnair is an award-winning carrier ranked as the best airline in Northern Europe for almost a decade. The airline’s presence in Northern Europe allows them to establish multiple destination options when booking, so you’re able to stopover at many of the region’s top destinations without incurring additional costs on ticket prices.
LOT Polish is on track to replicate this strategy throughout Eastern Europe. Many of their latest routes to destinations in the region were recently established as of 2018 and more being added to their routes this year. Passengers traveling with LOT Polish will now have the convenience for traveling throughout Eastern Europe. With Budapest being the newest base for LOT Polish, they continue to claim their stake as one of the top growing airlines in Europe.