Will LOT Polish Create A Large Hub In Prague?

LOT Polish Airlines launched a new route on Wednesday this week, from Prague to Ostrava in the Czech Republic. The route is just a short one, but it carries significance: it is now the only domestic route in the Czech Republic, and it is not operated by the country’s own flag carrier Czech Airlines but by LOT Polish Airlines of Poland.

LOT Polish Airlines is steadily increasing its presence in Eastern Europe. Photo: LOT Polish Airlines

LOT Polish launches a Czech domestic route

On Wednesday 11th November, a LOT Polish Airlines Dash 8-400 aircraft operated the first scheduled domestic flight within the Czech Republic in almost two years. The flight was from Ostrava Airport, called Letiště Leoše Janáčka Ostrava (OSR), to the country’s capital, Václav Havel Airport Prague (PRG).

The Dash aircraft, carrying the registration SP-EQK, operated the rotation as follows:

  • Flight LO1527, departing Ostrava at 09:30 and arriving in Prague at 10:25
  • Flight LO1528, departing Prague at 11:00 and arriving in Ostrava at 11:55

The aircraft arrived into Ostrava on a w-rotation which LOT Polish operates as follows: Warsaw-Ostrava-Prague-Ostrava-Warsaw.

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The w-rotation will be how LOT Polish operates this flight for the future, as a five-weekly year-round connection. However, all flights will be operated by an Embraer 170 aircraft rather than a Dash turboprop, as was the case on the inaugural flight.

LOT Polish Airlines
LOT has scheduled an Embraer 170 aircraft for this route for all flights after the inaugural one. Photo: Getty Images

What is the significance of this route?

Following LOT Polish’s launch of this route, this is the first time that the Czech Republic is connected domestically via a scheduled passenger air link. The Ostrava – Prague route was last operated by Czech Airlines, the flag carrier of the Czech Republic. The Czech airline discontinued the route in January 2019.

The launch of the route comes just days after LOT Polish launched flights to Ostrava from its own hub in Warsaw. The Warsaw – Ostrava service was launched as a five-weekly air link on the first day of the winter schedule, 25th October this year.

Both the Prague and the Warsaw routes launched by LOT Polish are a major development for Ostrava Airport. Currently, those are the only two scheduled routes operating to this Czech airport.

LOT Polish Airlines
LOT Polish Airlines has added Ostrava to its network to expand its offer as a transfer airline, but also to establish itself more strongly in the Czech Republic. Photo: Getty Images

Does LOT Polish have more plans for the Czech Republic?

As Simple Flying reported at the time, LOT Polish Airlines is the airline currently being considered by the political leaders of Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Hungary, as the major partner in a new Central European airline.

Under the plans being discussed, Prague Airport would become a transfer point for long-distance routes. At the same time, LOT Polish would launch a whole regional network out of the Czech city and, in doing so, actively compete against Wizz Air and Ryanair in the wider region.

With the launch of Ostrava – Warsaw and Ostrava – Prague routes, has the execution of this plan already begun?

Do you think LOT Polish is likely to step up its presence in Czech Republic and establish itself as a dominant airline there soon? What do you think of this story? Let us know in the comments below.