Who is airline turnaround of the year?
LOT Polish Airlines was selected for its return to profit since 2016, following an extended period of loss-making, while also resuming strong traffic growth. In 2019, it expects to carry 10 million passengers for the first time, more than twice its traffic of just four years ago.
A restructuring programme started in 2012 made LOT much more competitive and better placed to face strong low-cost competition on short haul routes in Poland. While short haul competition is fierce, LOT is the leading airline on routes within Central Europe. Moreover, it is Central Europe’s only long-haul operator of any significance, styling itself as the region’s favourite network airline.
CAPA Chairman Emeritus Peter Harbison said: “Large LCC airline competition is strong in Poland, but their focus on price sensitive short/medium haul point to point markets leaves a gap for full-service airlines following a hub strategy that includes long-haul destinations. No other legacy airline in Central Europe is able to fill this gap as effectively as LOT has been able to. This has not been as easy as it might sound, but LOT have pursued opportunities most effectively.”
LOT Polish Airlines CEO, Rafał Milczarski said: “As LOT Polish Airlines, we are proud to be honoured with the CAPA Airline Turnaround of the Year Award. As this prestigious award goes to airlines that have recently turned around through innovative strategic changes and successful restructuring exercises, we are delighted that our success has been so highly recognised by our colleagues and partners from the industry. Despite challenges we all face in the international aviation market, LOT has been able to grow in the recent four years into a trans-regional leader and the fastest developing airline in Europe. With more than a hundred routes now on our offer, we have doubled the number of passengers and, at the same time, significantly reduced our climate impact per passenger. This is all thanks to the incredible enthusiasm and professionalism of our Team, to whom this award should be credited in the first place.”