British Airways today unveiled plans for a strategic alliance in Central Europe. Chief Executive, Bob Ayling signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the President of LOT, Jan Litwinski, in Warsaw this morning.
The move signals the latest phase in British Airways` drive to boost the service it provides its customers and, in the face of mounting competition from other European airlines and established alliances, is another step in fulfilling the airline`s commitment to a comprehensive network of European services. Both airlines will work together to develop a Central European network to improve and expand services to and from regional airports.
The two airlines expect talks to lead to opportunities for code-sharing on flights between Manchester-Warsaw and London Gatwick-Krakow as well as on flights beyond London and Warsaw. A first phase of co-operation will include a code sharing agreement with British Airways` German subsidiary, Deutsche BA and LOT. In addition, opportunities for reciprocal participation in frequent flyer programmes are being developed. Services between London Heathrow-Warsaw will, however, be excluded from the initial scope of negotiations. Both carriers do not exclude the
possibility of an equity investment.
Bob Ayling, British Airways` Chief Executive, said: ” To date we have concentrated on developing our links with Europe from London and from our footholds in the French and German markets. Today, we have taken a big step towards extending our alliance network throughout Central Europe to meet the competitive forces of established carriers and airline alliances.
“We are delighted to have secured this relationship with LOT and we look forward to securing the best possible services for our customers, particularly the ever-increasing numbers of business travellers to and from Poland.
Jan Litwinski, President of LOT, said: “Today, we are starting a new chapter in relations between LOT and British Airways. We intend to create a strategic alliance that will be beneficial for all our customers. The benefits for LOT of an association with one of the world`s most successful airlines will be considerable.”
Both parties hope to conclude an agreement by April 1998.