With the number of Korean visitors quadrupling over the last four years, Budapest Airport and LOT Polish Airlines worked closely together to launch yesterday’s new link between Hungary’s capital city and South Korea’s largest airport – Seoul Incheon. Welcoming over 100,000 visitors from Korea each year, Budapest celebrated the arrival of LOT’s three times weekly service. This latest expansion marks a significant development in the airport’s connections with the East.
LO 2001 BUD-ICN 12:25-6:05 (+1) Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays
LO 2002 ICN-BUD 07:30-13:15 Mondays, Wednesdays, Saturdays
Commenting at the launch, Dr Rolf Schnitzler, CEO, Budapest Airport said: “With the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and our strong relationship with LOT Polish Airlines, we have ensured further business and leisure relations in this essential market. The need for further connections from Budapest to the East has continued to grow and this is the next crucial step in our commitment to meet demand and serve our customers’ needs.”
With investments from Korea into Hungary reaching over $1.2bn this year, Budapest Airport’s fastest-growing full-service carrier will now play an important role in the growth of the economic ties between the two countries.
“It is a milestone in LOT’s history and another stage of building our second home base in Budapest. I am certain that our services will meet the expectations of Koreans and Hungarians. Tourism and business potential of the cooperation between Budapest and Seoul is huge – the annual passenger traffic on that route reaches 75,000, and the number of passengers travelling annually between the CEE region and Seoul exceeds 580,000. As a leader in the Central and Eastern Europe LOT responds to passengers needs offering them flights not to one but already to two European capitals, Warsaw and Budapest,” says Rafał Milczarski, LOT’s CEO.
The Budapest-Seoul flight takes approximately 11 hours. The new connection offered by the Polish airlines will allow the passengers to transfer to flights to Warsaw and London (LCY) and, starting from 30 March 2020, also to LOT’s flights from Budapest to Brussels, Bucharest, Prague and Stuttgart.
Passengers travelling by Dreamliners can choose from three travel classes: LOT Business Class with flat-bed seats and the cuisine resembling the one of the best restaurants; LOT Premium Economy Class with larger, individual space and footrests, comfortable thigh support, cocktail tables and extensive menu as well as LOT Economy Class with modern seats and individual on-board entertainment screens as well as USB ports.
Especially for passengers travelling on the Budapest-Seoul route LOT has, inter alia, a Korean menu while the on-board entertainment system available in the Korean and Hungarian language versions features Korean and Hungarian movies. Ultimately LOT plans to ensure Korean- and Hungarian-speaking crew members onboard each flight.
“Hungary is one of the key markets in Central and Eastern Europe to LOT. To LOT, it is also a completely new chapter in leveraging our operations. For the first time in its 90-year history, LOT has launched a connection to Asia from outside Poland,” says Rafał Milczarski.
The launch of flights between Budapest and Seoul is another step in building LOT’s hub in Budapest. Starting from 30 March 2020, the number of flights operated by LOT from the capital of Hungary will total 12 – passengers will be able to fly directly to Warsaw, Krakow, London City, Bucharest, Brussels, Stuttgart, Prague, Belgrade, Sofia as well as New York City, Chicago and Seoul. To operate its newly announced European flights, three LOT’s Embraer 195s will be permanently stationed in Budapest. Starting from the next summer season, the carrier’s fleet in Budapest will amount to four short-distance aircraft and one Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
Currently, LOT’s staff servicing its direct flights from Budapest totals 80 stewards and stewardesses and a dozen or so Hungarian pilots. It has been recruiting new candidates on a current basis and plans to have employed approx. 150 new pilots until the end of 2019 to work at its bases in Warsaw and Budapest. The launch of the new flights from Budapest is another element of the implementation of LOT’s profitable growth strategy the purpose of which is to build the position of leading airlines in the Central and Eastern Europe.