LOT Polish Is Launching Daily Budapest Belgrade Flights

LOT Polish Airlines has scheduled the first flight on its new route between Belgrade, Serbia, and Budapest, Hungary, for 25th October this year. The route was originally due for launch in March this year, but was then postponed due to capacity shortages surrounding the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX, and then later again because of the pandemic.

Polish Airlines Lot Embraer E195LR lands at Krakow-Balice
LOT Polish Embraer 195 aircraft are scheduled to fly between Budapest and Belgrade daily starting on 25th October. Photo: Getty Images

New route details

LOT Polish’s flight schedule data, as visible from its booking engine, shows that the Polish flag carrier is set to launch daily flights between the capitals of Serbia and Hungary, Budapest and Belgrade, at the start of the 2020 winter season. The new route will operate daily with the Polish airline’s Embraer 195 aircraft, from LOT’s Budapest base.

The E195 will depart Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport every day at 13:50 and arrive in Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport at 14:35. The scheduled flight duration is thus only 45 minutes, though the actual flight time will be shorter by about a third to allow for taxi time. These flights will operate under the code LO 2583.

On the way back, the LOT Polish E195 will depart Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport at 15:45 as flight LO2574 to arrive in Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport at 16:25. Thus, on the way back, the flight is five minutes shorter.

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LOT Polish Is Launching Daily Budapest Belgrade Flights
The scheduled flight duration between Budapest and Belgrade is just 45 minutes. Photo: Getty Images

LOT’s third attempt at launching the route

LOT Polish first announced that it would begin flying between Budapest and Belgrade in August 2019. The route was to launch as a daily service in March 2020, at the start of the summer season. However, the launch was then postponed from 30th March until 27th May because LOT Polish was facing a capacity shortage due to the grounding of the 737 MAX.

The route was then postponed again as a result of the travel restrictions and the slump in demand for air travel caused by the outbreak of the pandemic. Now, it looks like LOT is set to give it another, third, go.

Passengers wishing to reach Budapest from Belgrade currently have several other options. For example, LOT is selling flights under the following routing combinations:

  • Belgrade to Warsaw, then Warsaw to Budapest
  • Belgrade to Warsaw, then Warsaw to Wroclaw, and then Wroclaw to Budapest
  • Belgrade to Warsaw, then Warsaw to Prague, and then Prague to Budapest

All of these routing options are LOT flights. Because the Polish airline operates a base in Warsaw and Budapest, various combinations are immediately made available.

LOT Polish Airlines
LOT Polish Airlines is clearly keen to launch the Belgrade-Budapest flights. Photo: Getty Images

Why is LOT Polish based in Budapest?

LOT Polish first announced in early 2019 that it would be opening a base in Budapest with Embraer 195 aircraft. The move was strategic, as LOT wanted to establish itself as a transfer airline in Eastern Europe. On top of that, Hungary has been left with very limited connectivity ever since the collapse of its former national airline Malev, in 2012.

Do you think LOT Polish’s base in Budapest will be a success? Do you think the planned launch of flights between Belgrade and Budapest will take place on 25th October, as advertised, and with seven weekly frequencies? Let us know what you think of this story in the comments below.