Starting Oct. 18, LOT Polish Airlines will launch a direct flight between Warsaw and Seoul, making it the first ever nonstop connection between the two countries.
Serving three trips weekly in each direction between the Warsaw Chopin Airport and Incheon International Airport, the maiden initiative is expected to boost the exposure of both countries, streamlining their surging trade and investment, tourism and education exchange.
The airline -- which is a member of the Star Alliance group -- will carry passengers on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, equipped with some of the most sophisticated technology and equipment in the industry, according to the LOT Polish Airlines chief executive officer Rafal Milczarski.
(From left) LOT Polish Airlines acting executive director Adrian Kubicki, Polish Ambassador Krzysztof Ignacy Majka, LOT chief executive officer Rafal Milczarski, Bohram Air Services CEO Jennifer Hong and LOT chief commercial officer Michal Fijol. (Joel Lee / The Korea Herald)
A national carrier based in Warsaw, the enterprise celebrates its 87th anniversary this year with a particular focus on consolidating Central and Eastern European markets.
Carrying 5 million passengers yearly, the corporation is the largest airline in Central and Eastern Europe and offers quick flights to neighboring cities such as Krakow, Zagreb, Dusseldorf, Zurich, Stockholm and Vienna.
The company will connect customers to 63 destinations worldwide through 85,000 annual flights this year, and by 2020 will extend coverage to 90 destinations through 115,000 flights.
“The maiden flight on Oct. 18 will mark a historic moment and a step forward in our bilateral strategic partnership,” Milczarski said in a speech at a press conference on Tuesday. “We want to serve our clients, make them feel welcome and comfortable and demonstrate our hospitable and safe services.”
Korean-speaking crew will board the plane and Korean dishes will be served, along with entertainment programs in the Korean language.
Milczarski argued the flying experience is “unparalleled” in terms of comfort and quality, such as cabin air pressure and humidity. Boeing 787 Dreamliners provide business class, premium economy class and economy class.
“We invite you to Poland, the most dynamic country in Central Europe as well as the whole of Europe, that shares many of Korea’s own experiences,” he said. “Poland is a safe country with very hospitable people and magnificent attractions. The direct flight will create new opportunities in our relationship.”
Last year 30,000 people travelled between the two countries, a 23 percent increase from 2014. As some 350,000 people journeyed between Central and Eastern Europe and Korea last year, the new service will directly feed into the increasing exchange between the two regions, according to Polish Ambassador Krzysztof Ignacy Majka.
“There’s a saying, ‘The sky is the limit,’ but with the launch of the direct flight the sky will no longer be the limit, but rather present unbounded opportunities for all of us,” he remarked. “Surely the more than 150 Korean enterprises operating in Poland will see their numbers increase following the direct flight. There will be greater demands for the exchange of goods, services and people.”
The ambassador highlighted that Seoul is one of the most vibrant and developing business hubs in Asia, home to many global corporations that have invested in Poland.
“For Poland, Korea is the second largest economic partner in Asia in terms of trade and one of the most important tourism destinations. Last year, the two countries recorded over $3.5 billion in trade,” according to the envoy.
“For Korea, Poland is a main investment market in Central Europe and the fifth largest one in the whole of Europe. Thanks to our strategic location and developing infrastructure, Poland is a natural gateway to the whole of Europe with optimal conditions for transport, to and from all corners of the continent.”
By Joel Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)