The code-share agreement that was signed on 11th March, 1998 in Warsaw between LOT Polish Airlines and FINNAIR, is to begin a closer co-operation between the two carriers. In compliance with the contents of the agreement, flights Warsaw - Helsinki will be served by FINNAIR planes 7 times a week and 6 times a week by LOT. The flights will be double marked: LO/AY and each of the carriers will exchange between themselves 30 seats on each flight in both classes. LOT and FINNAIR also agreed on the unanimous catering service.
In future, the two companies plan to develop the air services to the Baltic countries. First shared flights are planned for the summer season of 1999. LOT Polish Airlines and FINNAIR also think about co-operation on the Atlantic and Far East flight connections.
The agreement, which has been signed today, gives the passengers of LOT Polish Airlines and FINNAIR not only the opportunity of flying to and from Helsinki twice a day, but also the possibility of travelling on regional and long distance services of both carriers. Frequent Flyer Programs of both airlines will also be available for the customers.
LOT Polish Airlines` flight services to Finland have a long history. The relationship began in the very beginning of our company`s activity. An international aviation agreement between Poland and Finland was signed in 1936 in Turk. The legendary pilot, captain Waclaw Makowski, director of LOT Polish Airlines, was present at the ceremony of signing the document. LOT Polish Airlines opened the longest (4300 km), meridional flight connections in interwar Europe on 29th April, 1937. LOT planes covered the route: Helsinki - Warsaw - Lydda (today`s Tel Aviv) in 34 hours. The more conventional way of travelling - by air and ship - took about 10 days. The operation of this particular route was considered to be one of the biggest technical and organizational achievements of contemporary civil aviation. Just before the war break out in 1939, LOT planes served 6 international multi-leg flight connections. One of the most important routes was the connection between Helsinki - Tallin - Riga - Kovno - Vilnius - Warsaw - Cracow - Budapest. LOT operated the following planes on its air services: Douglas DC-2, Lockheed L-10-A Electra, Junkers Ju-52 and from 1938 also the most modern ones: Lockheed L-14 H Super Electra. It was the plane on which captain Waclaw Makowski flew across the Atlantic Ocean for the first time doing a cargo flight. In such a way transatlantic flights began in the history of our company.
The break out of the Second World War put LOT`s development into a halt. However just after the war the planes with the Crane on their tails returned to the international airports. On 3rd April, 1965 LOT Polish Airlines renewed flights to Helsinki.
In the recent years we have been observing a systematic growth of the passengers` number on flights to and from Helsinki. In 1996 LOT Polish Airlines carried 28,600 customers on this route, and in 1997 - 31,615 people. Also the number of cargo flights has been growing steadily.