BUSINESS

[Herald Interview] LOT Polish Airlines aims to bridge Korea, central Europe

By Won Ho-jung
  • Published : Oct 22, 2017 - 14:57
  • Updated : Oct 22, 2017 - 14:57

Poland‘s flagship carrier celebrated the one-year anniversary of its Incheon-Warsaw direct route Thursday, with hopes to further increase the frequency of the flight and promote Central European destinations in the Korean market.

“It is a very important route, not only from the tourist perspective but also because it provides business connectivity,” said LOT’s chief executive Rafal Milczarski during an interview with The Korea Herald.

The Incheon-Warsaw flights serviced by LOT began on Oct. 18 last year, and is currently flying five times a week filling about 82 percent of the seats on each flight. So far, over 60,000 people have flown on the route.

Rafal Milczarski, CEO of LOT Polish Airlines (LOT)

“In Seoul we have grown up to five frequencies which is the limit in our bilateral arrangements. We want to grow more to improve quality for the Korean, Polish and international passengers. But in order to achieve this, we will be trying to persuade the authorities at the Transport Ministry to grant us additional rights to be able to do that,” Milczarski said, noting that a daily product was ideal for attracting passengers.

For LOT, it is important to increase its market share in the Korean-central European aviation market because of the future potential for rapid growth in business ties between the two countries.

Korea is already the second-largest investing country in Poland, according to the CEO, who describes Korea’s history of economic development as an “inspiration” to Poland.

“There is the Brexit perspective. The center of gravity in Europe is definitely shifting eastward,” he said. “I believe that central Europe is awaiting huge phenomenal growth, economic growth in terms of what our economies are capable of achieving.”

Rafal Milczarski, CEO of LOT Polish Airlines (far left), gives a presentation on LOT’s Incheon-Warsaw direct route at a press conference held Thursday. (LOT)

Poland is currently in the process of planning a hub airport, which LOT hopes will become the center of passenger and freight traffic in and out of central Europe, connecting countries such as Korea and Japan to the growing market. Roughly 12 percent of the passengers that have flown on the Incheon-Warsaw route have been business or premium economy-class passengers, indicating strong demand among business travelers.

“Ultimately when the airport is built, I can see up to 28 frequencies between Poland and Korea,” he said. “Yes, we want to increase our frequencies but at the same time there are other things we are working on our end, improving our network, renewing our fleet, flying to more destinations.” 

By Won Ho-jung (hjwon@heraldcorp.com)


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