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The Warsaw Voice » Other » October 22, 2008
Privatization in Poland
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LOT Polish Airlines
October 22, 2008   
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LOT Polish Airlines is one of the world's oldest, having been established in 1929. In 1989, LOT became the first airline in Eastern Europe to purchase modern Boeing 767s. Last year it carried nearly 4.3 million passengers and gave other airlines some serious competition with its modern fleet, extensive flight network and excellent service.

The Treasury has retained control over LOT Polish Airlines since the carrier was transformed from a state-owned enterprise (SOE) Dec. 29, 1992. SAirGroup, a Swiss holding company, purchased LOT shares when the airline was privatized in November 1999. SAirGroup's interests in LOT are currently being managed by the trustee in bankruptcy for SAirlines Europe. The Polish government now holds a 67.96 percent stake, the trustee in bankruptcy for SAirlines Europe 25.1 percent, and LOT staff the remaining 6.94 percent.

LOT has been a member of Star Alliance, the world's largest airline alliance, since 2003. Star Alliance has 21 members, including Lufthansa, SAS, Singapore Airlines, ANA, and United.

LOT Polish Airlines is a partner in Europe's largest frequent flyer program, Miles&More, which has 15 million members worldwide. LOT's Miles&More program was specially designed to enable passengers to redeem their frequent flyer points on any airline and not just Star Alliance members.

In 2010, LOT will become the first European airline to fly the world's most technologically advanced long-distance aircraft, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

The management of LOT Polish Airlines has set itself the following goals over the next few years:
  • open up communication channels between company management, trade unions and other interested parties so that strategic tasks can be implemented and challenges met;
  • get the LOT Group to operate charter flights;
  • strengthen Star Alliance and make Warsaw Airport a regional transit hub;
  • modernize sales tools, mainly by developing LOT's website;
  • prepare the company for public listing;

LOT Polish Airlines, along with the rest of the civil aviation industry, is facing a whole raft of new challenges as a result of the recent steep hikes in fuel prices. We remain convinced, however, that we will emerge from this current situation even stronger and that the services we offer our passengers will be better than ever.
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