On October 20, 1999 the Polish Minister of the Treasury, in understanding with the Minister of Transportation, selected a strategic investor for LOT Polish Airlines. The Polish national carrier`s partner is SAirGroup, the parent company of Swissair. SAirGroup won the bid over the airline giants British Airways and Lufthansa.
“SAirGroup`s offer was rated the most favorable because it creates good conditions for the privatization of LOT Polish Airlines and allows the Polish national airline to enter the Qualiflyer alliance and play a significant role in that alliance,” said Leszek Chorzewski, LOT spokesperson.
LOT Polish Airlines and Swissair have a long established history of working together to provide a greater number of travel destinations for their passengers. The first flight between Poland and Switzerland was launched by LOT in 1938. That line ran from Warsaw to Zurich through Berlin.
LOT Polish Airlines and Swissair reached an agreement in 1946 to provide air transportation between Zurich and Warsaw, through Prague. A direct connection between Warsaw and Zurich was introduced in 1958. “On November 5th at 2:00 p.m. the first LOT lL-14 airplane landed at the Zurich airport to begin regular airline connections,” Poland`s well known aviation magazine, Poland`s Wings, wrote. The new line included two flights weekly on Wednesday and Sunday. The flight from Warsaw to Zurich lasted 4 hours while the Zurich-Warsaw flight was 15 minutes shorter. But that`s enough of history…
Today, the flight to Zurich lasts 1 hour and 55 minutes while the return flight is 5 minutes shorter. Flights are not only available from Warsaw, but from Krakow as well. Although the Krakow flights are served by Swissair, LOT passengers also travel on those flights on the basis of a Blocked Space Agreement. That means that LOT has a defined number of seats on board Swissair planes and may manage those seats according to its own discretion.
In 1997 and in 1998 LOT Polish Airlines flew 39,133 and 40,080 passengers to Zurich respectively. The first eight months of this year, LOT Polish Airlines carried 21,347 passengers.
In recent years, Boeing 737-400 planes with a boarding capacity of 147 passengers and Boeing 737-500 planes with 108 seats have been serving the flights to Zurich. Since August 1999 i.e. since the introduction of the Embraer ERJ 145 with 48 seats, LOT Polish Airlines has been offering two flights to Switzerland daily.