LOT to re-launch a direct connection between Krakow and Chicago

LOT’s Dreamliner aircraft will start serving a direct connection between Kraków and Chicago in July next year. One weekly flight will be offered all year long. Connection between the capital of Poland’s Małopolska province and the city inhabited by the greatest number of Polish Americans has been long awaited by the passengers from the region. The continuing growth of the Kraków Airport and expansion of the LOT Polish Airlines fleet have made it possible to reintroduce the transatlantic route into the flight schedule.

The connection between Kraków and Chicago will be operated by one of LOT’s two new Dreamliners that are expected to join the carrier’s fleet in the middle of next year. The weekly flights will supplement LOT’s offering of daily connections to Chicago that are available with a layover in Warsaw. The direct flight between the capital of the Małopolska region and the USA will be launched primarily for traditional, ethnic traffic, as its volume continues to increase every year.

LOT has been trying to win the hearts of new passengers, and especially of the Polish Americans that have always been choosing LOT. We strive to become the preferred airline of all passengers traveling between Poland and the USA. However, in order to achieve that objective, we must guarantee the best product available. Following the announcement of our return to Newark, the launch of a connection between Kraków and Chicago is the best news one can imagine. We know how important this route is for hundreds of thousands of travelers willing to visit their friends and loved ones in the US and in Poland each year. Rest assured that the offering of no other airline will be equally attractive, come next summer”

said Rafał Milczarski, CEO of LOT.

The decision to launch the connection between Kraków and Chicago was made based on detailed analysis of the number of passengers travelling along this route. Data for the past few years indicates that the number of travelers is clearly growing. A great majority of them choose a two-segment connection via Warsaw. The positive outcome of business analyses conducted has encouraged the airline’s management to launch the new, direct flight as early as in July.

The number of passengers traveling between Kraków and Chicago has been growing since 2012 at the average rate of 17 per cent each year. LOT’s strategy clearly indicates that we must not waste such a great potential. Together with the Kraków Airport we have been evaluating, for many months now, the re-launch of the Kraków-Chicago route. Thanks to the new Dreamliners that are to expand our fleet in the middle of next year, introduction of this connection has become feasible. We are glad that good cooperation with the Kraków Airport has enabled us to break this great news together. Our Dreamliners will commence taking off from and landing in Kraków in July of next year, and we do hope that the new connection will turn out to be profitable in the long-term. LOT is not ruling out any further, direct connections originating from the individual regions, provided that specific business assumptions are met.

Radosław Włoszek, Chairman of the Management Board, Kraków Airport, stated:

Next year, after nearly seven years of absence, flights to Chicago will once again become a part of the Kraków Airport’s destination network. According to our analyses, the interest in this connection is high and continues to rise. Over 90,000 passengers that fly between Kraków and Chicago each year  via Warsaw, will be offered a direct flight next year. It’s great news for passengers from southern Poland, the Silesia region and Slovakia.

Rafal Milczarski added:

Kraków and the Małopolska province attract American companies as well. Their investments are of crucial significance for the region. One must not forget about the cultural and tourism-related advantages that have turned Kraków and the Małopolska region into popular tourist destinations for Americans.”

The announcement of the new connection between Kraków and Chicago fits in with LOT’s profitable growth strategy that the airline has been implementing since the beginning of 2016. The Polish carrier has already launched flights to 23 new destinations, including two of the long-haul variety (Tokyo and Seoul). Next year, LOT is set to considerably expand its presence on the US market. New routes connecting Warsaw with Newark and Los Angeles will be launched in April. Together with the connection between Kraków and Chicago, LOT will be operating the total of 6 flights to North America in 2017.

Warsaw, 22 November 2016