On April 4th, 2002, Jan Litwinski, President of LOT Polish Airlines, and JÌ?rgen Weber, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Deutsche Lufthansa AG, signed a Memorandum of Understanding between LOT and Lufthansa. They also signed a code-share agreement on the joint operation of air services between Poland and Germany. These agreements are an important step towards LOTå‘s Star Alliance membership.
The signing of the memorandum has commenced a process preparing LOT’s accession to the Star Alliance. According to the agreement, Lufthansa will introduce LOT to the leading airline alliance, pledging to support LOT in adapting to the Alliance’s standards and systems. After approval of LOT’s admission to the alliance by the Star Alliances’s Chief Executive Board, this will create a new, attractive product for passengers, constituting an integral part of the Star Alliance network. The Polish market will thus gain access to a global network of connections, loyalty programmes aimed at frequent travellers, access to state-of-the-art sales networks, as well as an efficient and complex service for passengers travelling within the framework of the alliance all over the world. For Star Alliance travellers this will mean enhanced travel options thanks to integrated flight schedules in Central and Eastern Europe.
The memorandum of understanding will embrace all fields that might yield bi-lateral benefits. Both parties will remain independent national carriers retaining their own identity and brand and also developing their own hubs in Warsaw respectively Frankfurt and Munich. The proof of this is the second agreement signed today - a code-share agreement covering all routes between Poland and Germany. As of June 1st, 2002 all flights operated by both carriers will become joint connections.
“We are very pleased at the prospect of our membership in the world’s leading air alliance. Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, SAS and the other member airlines lead the way to the highest standards in world aviation. The alliance’s organisational resilience is an important argument in favour of optimistic prognoses for LOT’s development. This is crucial given the challenges posed by Poland’s accession to the European Union and the prospect of an “open sky” over Poland. Equally important is the fact that passengers will receive a significantly improved service, better tailored to their needs by both carriers in tandem - said Jan Litwinski, President of LOT Polish Airlines.
Jürgen Weber said: “We’re immensely proud that LOT Polish Airlines has chosen Lufthansa as a companion with whom it wishes to shape is course towards the enhanced European market and the global Star Alliance. As the customer is our focus we have a number of benefits in mind that will make air travel for Polish and German passengers more seamless and comfortable. We will seek closer locations at airports, look at the joint use of lounges and co-operation in the frequent flyer programmes. We also envisage very close collaboration in the areas of logistics, maintenance, overhaul and repair as well as IT technologies.”
Within the framework of this code-share agreement, LOT and Lufthansa will jointly operate direct connections from Warsaw to Frankfurt, Berlin, Hamburg, Hanover, Dusseldorf, Munich and Stuttgart; from Gdañsk to Frankfurt and Hamburg; from Katowice to Frankfurt and Dusseldorf; from Kraków to Frankfurt; from Poznañ to Dusseldorf and Hanover, as well as from Wroc?aw to Frankfurt and Munich. Germany is currently the most important European market for LOT in terms of the number of passengers.
The Star Alliance is the world’s leading global airline alliance founded in 1997. Member airlines are: Air Canada, Air New Zealand, All Nippon Airways, Ansett, Austrian Airlines, bmi British Midland, Lauda Air, Lufthansa, Mexicana, SAS, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways, Tyrolean Airways, United Airlines, VARIG. The Star Alliance carries 300 million passengers annually throughout its network of 727 destinations in 127 countries. Star member airlines operate a fleet of 2,000 aircraft and offer 11,000 flights daily.