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LOT Polish Airlines announce Budapest - London City Airport flights

LOT Polish Airlines aircraft inflight over the Thames, London
LOT Polish Airlines is to expand operations in Hungary, starting flights between London City Airport (LCY) and Budapest (BUD). From 19 February 2019, LOT will offer up to two flights a day, utilising four newly acquired Embraer 190 aircraft. It follows last week's confirmation of a London City - Warsaw service (starting 7th January) and the successful launch of long-haul flights from Budapest to New York City and Chicago, as well as between Budapest and Kraków. Tickets for the London City - Budapest route are on sale now. 

The new flights will be operated based on the following timetable: morning departure from Budapest is scheduled at 7.00am with arrival to London City Airport at 8.45am daily (except Sundays). The second flight will leave Budapest at 5.15pm, arriving at LCY at 7.00pm (except Saturdays). The departing flights from LCY are scheduled at: 09.15am and 7.30pm and arriving at Budapest at 12.45pm, and 11.00pm respectively.

Such a convenient schedule enables passengers travelling from Budapest for business to take a round trip without an overnight stay. Located in London’s Royal Docks, London City Airport is the closest airport to the financial and business centre of London (the City of London is only  6 miles away) and is also just 20 minutes from world famous sites including Tower Bridge and the tallest building in western Europe, The Shard.

Moreover LOT’s new service is an excellent alternative to other flights offered on the London-Budapest route using airports located farther away from the centre of London (Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton and Southend). LOT’s new flights are targeted at corporate passengers and will also help tighten business and economic relations between Hungary and the United Kingdom. The flights will also benefit city breakers travelling in either direction on leisure trips.  

Rafał Milczarski, CEO of LOT Polish Airlines, said: “Being a modern and most dynamically growing airline in Europe, we are very proud we are able to fast-track our development in Hungary. We have opened a new chapter in our history: after the launch of the flights to New York City, Chicago, Kraków, the two daily flights to London City are now added. The annual passenger traffic on the Budapest-London route approximates 1.4 million. London City Airport is the most conveniently located airport for those passengers who want to reach central London, including its business districts, in the shortest and most convenient way. I am certain that Hungarian passengers will appreciate the new connection thanks to the elevated quality of services."

Robert Sinclair, CEO of London City Airport, said:   “The addition of Budapest to London City Airport’s route map for the first time epitomises our determination to offer passengers the very best links between London and major European cities. 

“We know more destinations and more choice is what our passengers want, especially as we invest £480 million in our facilities, and a Budapest connection offers a further foothold for tourism and trade in Central Europe and a convenient link with this buzzing city on the banks of the Danube. In addition to the recently announced Warsaw service, LOT Polish Airlines’ latest route provides a positive indication of their growth ambitions at London City Airport.” 

Jost Lammers, CEO of Budapest Airport, said:   "I am extremely happy to have another innovative product introduced into the Hungarian aviation market by our friends from LOT Polish Airlines. The start of operations between Budapest and London City Airport marks another important milestone in our joint efforts to present high quality service to passengers at both ends of this destination.”  

Owing to a relatively short runway and a steep approach angle of 5.5˚, the flights to and from London City will be operated on four new Embraer E-190s which LOT have decided to acquire, to be delivered on or before the end of 2018 directly from the manufacturer’s plant in Brazil. The new Embraer E-190’s seating capacity is 106. 

For Hungary it means the release of its potential of passenger travel on the new routes and the development of its transport arm, with improvements to the airport infrastructure, ground handling and new jobs to follow. Currently LOT’s headcount in Budapest is 60 (onboard crew on the Budapest-New York City/Chicago routes). The carrier announced that by the end of 2019 it will have hired 300 pilots from the Central and Eastern Europe with some of them to be permanently stationed in Budapest. LOT’s business lounge will also open at the Budapest Airport soon.

In addition to the new London City route, LOT offers its passengers direct connections between Budapest and three destinations: flights to New York City and Chicago operated by wide-body Dreamliners, and flights to/from Kraków operated by Bombardier Q400s, resulting in the annual passenger traffic passenger on those routes at 400,000. Across its route network LOT offers 100 scheduled flights in total including direct flights from Warsaw to New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Toronto, Beijing, Seoul, Tokyo, Singapore and from Budapest to New York City and Chicago.

The strategy of profitable growth being implemented by LOT since 2016 has enabled the airline to develop its Hungarian operations. Based on its underlying assumptions, LOT intends to become the first-choice airlines in the CEE countries and is currently one of the fastest growing airlines in Europe. In 2017 its passenger traffic totalled over 6.8m - an increase of nearly 25% year-on-year. This year LOT has plans to reach the threshold of 9m and exceed 10m in 2019 to be able to continue its momentum.   

LOT has 55 modern aircraft (and including all aircraft leased from Estonian Nordica and Romanian BlueAir, LOT’s total fleet comprises nearly 70 machines). By the end of 2019 five more B787 Dreamliners shall be added to LOT’s fleet, upping their total number to 15. LOT has also been waiting for the delivery of narrow-body Boeing 737 MAX 8s that have been ordered; by the end of 2019 its fleet will comprise twelve such machines (via-a-vis four at present). July 2018 marks the completion of the deliveries of six Embraer 195s and by the end of this year four Embraer 190s will be added to LOT’s fleet.  

Tickets for the flights on the Budapest-London City route are already available via all channels, including the website, the LOT Contact Centre, the LOT Travel offices, and travel agents.  

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