By Mark Nensel, ATW Daily News
LOT Polish Airlines will take three additional Boeing 787-9s on 12-year operational lease agreements with Irish lessor Avolon beginning next year, the Warsaw-based-carrier said April 24.
Two will be delivered in May 2019, the third in October 2019. By that point, LOT's fleet of 787s will total 15 aircraft.
LOT's present fleet of Dreamliners includes eight leased-in 787-8s and one 787-9. The -9, which was delivered to LOT in March, is the first of three 787-9s LOT will operate on long-term lease with US lessor Aviation Capital Group (ACG). The remaining two -9s from ACG are scheduled for delivery to LOT this month (April) and February 2019. The fourth -9 previously ordered is on long-term lease with US lessor Air Lease Corporation (ALC) and is set for delivery during the 2018 second quarter, according to ALC.
With LOT's first 787-9 operating regular flights to Chicago and Toronto; the next -9, due this month, will fly between Warsaw and New York-JFK, as well as some flights to Seoul, South Korea. The airline said it is in talks to purchase another three wide- and narrow-body aircraft, and is waiting on delivery for four out of six 737 MAX 8s LOT has on order through ALC; and five out of six Embraer E195s (lessor identity unavailable). Additionally, two Bombardier Q400 turboprops are expected to be added to LOT's fleet "for at least six months," the airliner said.
"At present we operate 13 direct long-distance flights and each new machine is an opportunity to launch another one or two new routes," LOT corporate communications head Adrian Kubicki said. In addition to the New York-JFK and Seoul routes, LOT's 787 fleet also operates direct flights from Warsaw to Newark, Chicago, Toronto, Los Angeles and Tokyo, as well as Kraków-Chicago and Rzeszów-Newark routes. In May, LOT plans to launch new long-haul routes including Warsaw-Singapore and flights from Budapest, Hungary to New York and Chicago.
"LOT is the first airline in Europe [with a] long-haul fleet consisting only of Dreamliners," LOT CEO Rafał Milczarski said in March. "[The] Dreamliner is the driver of even faster growth of LOT... [with the 787-9] significantly increasing the number of seats on the existing, most popular routes. The 787-9 will be perfect for our flagship flights to Chicago, New York City or selected Asian destinations and will enable us to launch completely new routes."