LOT Polish Airlines introduced the first non-stop long-haul connection between Budapest in Hungary and the USA. On May 5 it is launching the next one. The Polish air carrier is responding to the enormous demand for non-stop flights between Hungary and New York/Chicago, two important metropolia in North America.
From today flights to New York will be served by the latest B787 Dreamliners four times a week: on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays aircraft will depart from Budapest at 11:55. The non-stop flight will take only 9 hours and 45 minutes. Flights to Chicago will be operated twice a week: on Tuesdays and Saturdays with the total travel time of 10 hours 15 minutes.
The last time Hungary had a non-stop connection with the United States was in 2011. Since then after the national carrier Malev went bankrupt, the number of passengers travelling from Budapest to the USA – despite the lack of non-stop flights – has continued to grow, creating a large, but so far untapped market. Currently, over 170 thousand passengers travel on this route annually.
“Our decision to launch non-stop flights shows how much we believe in Hungary as one of the key markets in Central and Eastern Europe for LOT. We aim to win the hearts of passengers from Hungary and the surrounding countries with the best product on the market, which the non-stop flights definitely are. For LOT it is also a completely new chapter in its history. For the first time in its 90-year history LOT is launching a connection to North America from outside Poland” says Rafał Milczarski, LOT’S CEO.
„I am very proud that with joint efforts with our Polish friends we have reached this milestone in the history of Budapest Airport. Let me also use this opportunity to thank Hungarian and Polish political leaders and diplomats who helped to create the framework for the operation of these new LOT-flights from Budapest and thus contributed to the creation of new jobs in the aviation sector in Hungary” remarked Jost Lammers, CEO of Budapest Airport. He added: „LOT Polish airlines would offer extra comfort and a unique travel experience to the passengers on board Boeing 787 Dreamliner travelling both to New York and Chicago. These flights are sure to become a great success among tens of thousands of business travellers, tourist and people visiting their relatives and friends overseas.”
LOT employed Hungarian crews to serve the non-stop connection between Budapest and New York/Chicago. Initially, flights will be operated with mixed, Polish-Hungarian personnel onboard. However, the connection will be ultimately operated solely by Hungarian crews. Launching non-stop flights between Budapest and New York/Chicago means that one of LOT’s Dreamliners will have its permanent base in Budapest. Also, a service base of LOT AMS, a company of Polska Grupa Lotnicza PGL Holding built around LOT, will be open there.
“We want passengers from Hungary to believe that LOT may fulfil the gap in lack of a national carrier. As the only legacy carrier in Europe, we focused on non-stop, long-haul connections starting from Budapest. Currently, local passengers are forced to transfer mainly in Frankfurt, Paris, Amsterdam and London on their way to New York and Chicago, which makes their journey considerably longer. We believe the residents of Budapest and the surrounding area deserve a much better product dedicated to their needs” adds Rafał Milczarski.
According to detailed analyses performed by LOT, non-stop flights from Budapest will be used not only by residents of the Hungarian capital, but also of other Hungarian cities, eastern Austria, Slovakia, western Romania, and Balkan countries. More than 8 million people live within a distance of just two hours’ drive from the Budapest airport and the new connections are for them.
“Many people, who come from this part of Europe, live in New York and Chicago. Economic relations are also developing. The new non-stop connections will certainly provide an additional stimulus for an increase in the volume of passengers and cargo operations” says LOT’S CEO. “Importantly the transatlantic connections from Budapest will supplement the offer of flights from Warsaw, rather than be a direct competition” he adds.
The new LOT flights are not only important for passenger traffic but also for their approx. 12 tons/flight belly cargo capacity – both ways.
Flights between Budapest and New York/Chicago will be operated exclusively with Boeing 787 Dreamliners, which are the most technologically-advanced aircraft in the world. LOT offers a truly Hungarian experience onboard – with an access to the entertainment system in the Hungarian language, traditional cuisine across all cabin classes as well as the local press and the selection of original wines for LOT Premium Economy and Business class.
After the connections between Hungary and the USA are launched, LOT will operate a total of 9 connections to North America, including 8 to the USA: from Warsaw to New York JFK, Newark, Chicago, Los Angeles and Toronto, from Budapest to New York JFK and Chicago, from Cracow to Chicago and from Rzeszów to Newark. For LOT Polish Airlines, launching flights from Budapest is another step in implementing the profitable growth strategy, which, besides building an air transport hub in Warsaw, involves tapping into the market potential of other airports in the region.
Tickets for the flights between Budapest and New York/Chicago can be purchased through all sales channels, including the lot.com website, the LOT Contact Center, LOT Travel offices, and travel agents.