Initial figures for the January-July period of this year show that 173 thousand more passengers flew with LOT Polish Airlines than in the previous year. During 7 months, 1.995 million passengers chose to fly with the national carrier, which represents a rise of 9.5% compared to last year, even though the number of passengers on charter flights fell by 4.7%. The growth in passenger numbers is the result of efforts by the Polish carrier to bring its services more into line with the needs of the air transport market, which at the moment is particularly competitive.
The best month for LOT turned out to be July. During the first month of the holiday season, almost 403 thousand passengers flew with LOT, up more than 10% on last year. Increased passenger traffic was reflected in the company’s improved financial results. After six months, LOT had an operating profit (EBIT) of 9.1 million Polish zl, and a net total profit of 36.11 million Polish zl.
The number of passengers on international flights was 1.392 million, up 10.3% on the first 7 months of 2002. Seat load factor on international flights was 71.1% - 1.5% more than for the equivalent period last year.
In the domestic sector LOT was able to maintain the growth trends of previous years. Altogether, there were 422.8 thousand passengers on domestic flights, almost 14% more than during January-July 2002. This growth was reflected in the rise in occupancy rates - at 61.5%, 6.8% higher than one year ago.
LOT’s results are all the more impressive when viewed in the context of IATA figures for the whole aviation industry. Although there are some signs of improvement, the global market for air transport is still in the depths of a recession. According to IATA figures published on August 4th this year, passenger transport for the whole world during the first half of 2003 was 7% down on the equivalent period last year. The largest declines were in the American market (11%) and the Far East (15.6%). In Europe, passenger numbers were down by 1.1%. The only growth areas were South America (+ 9.3%) and the Middle East (+5%).