LOT Polish Airlines
|Founded||January 1, 1929|
|Hubs||Warsaw Chopin Airport|
|Frequent-flyer program||Miles & More|
|Airport lounge||Executive Lounge|
Ty wyznaczasz kierunek (Polish) |
You choose your direction
|Parent company||Government of Poland|
|Key people||Rafał Milczarski, CEO|
|Revenue||PLN 3.306 billion (2012)|
|Net income||PLN 99 mio. (2014)|
|Profit||PLN 36 mio. (2014)|
Polskie Linie Lotnicze LOT S.A. (Polish pronunciation: [lɔt], flight), trading as LOT Polish Airlines, is the flag carrier of Poland. Based in Warsaw and established in 1929, it is one of the world's oldest airlines still in operation. With a fleet of 43 aircraft, LOT operates a network to 60 destinations in Europe, the Middle East, North America, and Asia. It is the only airline in the region to offer long-haul flights directly to New York City, Chicago, Toronto and Beijing. Most of the destinations originate from its hub, Warsaw Chopin Airport. LOT is also a member of the Star Alliance.
As Poland made the transition to a market economy from 1989, LOT began its own transformation from a wholly state-run carrier to a commercial European flag carrier. During this time LOT also started a process of fleet renewal with the purchase of modern aircraft. With the arrival of the first Boeing 767-300ER, the airline started inter-continental services to Chicago, Newark, Toronto, and New York City. These four main routes have been some of the most popular flights that LOT operates, especially during the summer season.
The company found itself undergoing constant management change in the late 2000s due to reductions in market share. At the end of 2012, LOT Polish Airlines became the first European airline that took delivery of one of the most modern aircraft in the world, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The cabin, configured with 18 Elite Club seats, 21 Premium Club seats and 213 Economy Class seats, offers incomparable levels of comfort.
Like other traditional airlines, it offers two service classes on its flights: Economy and Business class. LOT has also won numerous awards including "Best Airline in Eastern Europe" in 2008, 2009 and 2010 according to the magazine Global Traveler and has been hailed as one of the safest airlines in the world.
Pre-war LOT of the second republic
The airline was established on 1 January 1929 by the Polish government as a state-owned self-governing corporation taking over existing domestic lines Aero and Aerolot, and started operations on 2 January with services (additional to those previously operated by Aero and Aerolot) to Bydgoszcz and Katowice. The first aircraft used were Junkers F.13 and Fokker F.VII. Its first international service began on 2 August 1929 to Vienna. It was also at this point in time that LOT's well-renowned logo (designed by a visual artist from Warsaw, Tadeusz Gronowski, and still in use today) was picked as the winning entry of the Airline's logo design competition. Accepted into IATA in 1930, LOT opened an international route to Bucharest that year, followed by Berlin, Athens, Beirut, Helsinki, Rome and some others.
In 1931 the stork and Gronowski's logo were officially recognised by the company's corporate leadership as the emblem of LOT Polish Airlines, and in the same year the company's first multi-segment flight along the route Warsaw - Lwów - Czerniowce – Bucharest was launched. Douglas DC-2, Lockheed Model 10A Electra and Model 14H Super Electra joined the fleet in 1935, 1936 and 1938 respectively (at its peak, LOT had 10 Lockheed 10, 10 Lockheed 14, 3 DC-2 and 1 Ju 52/3mge). The airline had carried 218,000 passengers by the outbreak of war. In 1934, after five years of operating under the LOT name, the airline received new head offices, technical facilities, hangars, workshops and warehouses located at the new, modern Warsaw Okęcie Airport. This constituted a move from the airline's previous base at Pole Mokotowskie as this airport had become impossible to operate safely due to the way in which it had gradually become absorbed into Warsaw's outlying urban and residential areas.
In 1938 LOT changed its name, in accordance with the Polish spelling reform of that year from Polskie Linje Lotnicze 'LOT' to Polskie Linie Lotnicze 'LOT'; in the same year a well-publicised transatlantic test flight, aimed at judging the feasibility of introducing passenger service on the Poland-United States route, was carried out by LOT pilots and crew. Services were suspended during the Second World War, and all of LOT's aircraft were either destroyed or evacuated to Romania.
LOT during the People's Republic
On 10 March 1945 the Polish communist administration recreated the LOT airline. In 1946, 7 years after the service was suspended, the airline restarted its operations after receiving ten Soviet-built Lisunov Li-2s, then a further 30 Li-2s and nine Douglas C-47s. Both domestic and international services restarted that year, first to Berlin, Paris, Stockholm and Prague. Five Sud-Est Languedoc joined the fleet in July 1947, followed by five Ilyushin Il-12B in April 1949, at which point LOT also introduced a new service to Brussels; 13-20 Ilyushin Il-14s then followed in 1955-1957. However, after the full onset of Stalinism in Poland, very few Western aircraft would be acquired; five Convair 240s in October 1957 and 1959 and three Vickers Viscounts in November 1962 proved to be the last until the 1990s. From 1959 the composition of the airline's fleet shifted exclusively to Soviet-produced aircraft. In 1955 LOT inaugurated new services to Moscow and Vienna, thus connecting the Polish capital with two major European cities, and with regard to the former, the centre of the Marxist–Leninist world. Services to London and Zürich were not re-established until 1958.
Nine Ilyushin Il-18 turboprop airliners were introduced in May 1961, leading to the establishment of routes to Africa and Middle East, and by 1963 LOT had expanded its routes to serve the Middle East cities of Cairo, Baghdad, Beirut, Benghazi, Damascus and Tunis. The Antonov An-24 was delivered from April 1966 (20 used, on domestic routes), followed by the first jet airliners Tupolev Tu-134 in November 1968 (which coincided with the opening of a new international terminal at Warsaw's Okęcie Airport). The Tu-134s were operated on European routes. The Ilyushin Il-62 long range jet airliner and Charter flights inaugurate the first transatlantic routes in the history of Polish air transport in 1972. The introduction of Il-62 aircraft enabled, for the first time in LOT's history, the establishment of transatlantic services to New York City in 1973. LOT began service on its first Far-East destination - Bangkok via Dubai and Bombay in 1976.
In 1978 the airline's current livery (despite occasional changes, notably in corporate typography) designed by Roman Duszek and Andrzej Zbrożek, with the large 'LOT' inscription in blue on the front fuselage, and a blue tailplane was introduced, the 1929-designed Tadeusz Gronowski logo, however, despite many changes in livery, was kept through the years, and to this day remains the same.
In the Autumn of 1981, commercial air traffic in Poland neared collapse in the wake of the communist government's crackdown on dissenters in the country after the rise of the banned 'trade union' dissident Solidarity movement, and some Western airlines suspended their flights to Warsaw. With 13 December declaration of Martial Law that same year, all LOT Polish Airlines connections were suspended. Charter flights to New York and Chicago resumed only in 1984, and eventually regular flight connections were restored on 28 April 1985. Tupolev Tu-154 mid-range airliners were acquired, after the withdrawal of Il-18 and Tu-134 aircraft from LOT's fleet in the 1980s, and were deployed successively on most European and Middle East routes. In 1986 transatlantic charter flights also reached Detroit and Los Angeles.
Post-1989 LOT Polish Airlines
After the fall of the communist system in Poland in 1989 the fleet shifted back to Western aircraft, beginning with acquisitions of the Boeing 767-200 in April 1989, followed by the Boeing 767-300 in March 1990, ATR 72 in August 1991, Boeing 737-500 in December 1992 and finally the Boeing 737-400 in April 1993. From the mid-1980s to early 1990s LOT flew from Warsaw to Chicago, Edmonton, Montreal, Newark, New York and Toronto. These routes were primarily inaugurated to serve the large Polish communities (Polonia) present in North America.
LOT was among the first Central European countries to operate American aircraft when the Boeing 767 was introduced, the 767s were used to operate LOT's longest-ever connection to Singapore. By the end of 1989 LOT had achieved much: it had hosted that year's IATA congress and achieved a milestone annual load-factor of 2.3 million passengers carried over the course of the year.
In 1990 LOT's third Boeing 767-300 landed at Warsaw Chopin Airport and not long after Boeing 737 and ATR 72 aircraft were acquired for use on LOT's expanded route network, which began to include new international destinations such as Kiev, Lviv, Minsk and Vilnius. Soon thereafter, in 1993, LOT began to expand its Western-European operations, inaugurating, in quick succession, flights to Oslo, Frankfurt and Düsseldorf, operations at Poland's other regional airports outside Warsaw were also duly expanded around this time.
By December 1992 the airline became a joint stock company, as a transitional step towards partial privatisation, which was effected in late 1999, State Treasury - 67.97% of shares in the company; Regionalny Fundusz Gospodarczy S.A. - 25,1%; the employees - 6.93%. In 1994 the airline signed a code-sharing agreement with American Airlines on flights to and from Warsaw as well as onward flights in the United States and Poland operated by both companies; flights to Thessaloniki, Zagreb and Nice were inaugurated, and according to an IATA report, in this year LOT had the youngest fleet of any airline in the world. After years of planning, in 1997 LOT set up a sister airline, EuroLOT, which, essentially operating as its parent airline's regional subsidiary, took over domestic flights. The airline was developed with the hope that it would increase transit passenger-flow through Warsaw's Chopin Airport, whilst at the same time providing capacity on routes with smaller load factors and play a part in developing LOT's reputation as the largest transit airline in Central and Eastern Europe. By 1999 LOT had purchased a number of small Embraer 145 regional jets in order to expand its short-haul fleet, and had, with the approval of the Minister of the State Treasury, begun a process of selling shares to the Swiss company SAirGroup Holding, this then led to the airline's incorporation into the then-nascent Qualiflyer Group.
Expansion of LOT's route network continued in the early 2000s and the potential of the airline's hub at Warsaw Chopin Airport to become a major transit airport was realised with more and more success. In 2000 LOT took delivery of its largest ever order of 11 aircraft and by 2001 had reached a milestone passengers-carried figure of 3 million customers in one year; such an expansion led to the reconstruction of much of LOT's ground infrastructure, and by 2002 a new central Warsaw head office was opened on Ul. 17 Stycznia. On 26 October 2003, LOT, after the collapse of the Qualiflyer Group, became the 14th member of the Star Alliance. By 2006 a new base of operations, with the reconstruction of Warsaw Chopin Airport, had opened, thus allowing LOT's full transit airline potential to be developed for the first time ever. The new airport is much larger than any previous airport in Poland and has since provided LOT passengers with comfortable, high-quality service. In that same year Pope Benedict XVI returned to Rome on a LOT flight following his pilgrimage to Poland.
LOT created low-cost arm Centralwings in 2004, however, the company was dissolved and reincorporated into LOT after just five years of operating due to its long-term unprofitability and LOT's wish to redeploy aircraft within its own fleet.
In 2008 LOT opened a new flight to Beijing, however this lasted just a month, in the period prior to the Olympics. The reason for failure to continue this service was given as the need to route aircraft via an air corridor to the south of Kazakhstan (as LOT did not have permission for flights over Siberia from the Russian government) which was making the services too long and thus unprofitable.
LOT started new services to Yerevan, Armenia, Beirut, Lebanon and resumed Tallinn, Estonia, Kaliningrad, Russia, Gothenburg, Sweden and Bratislava, Slovakia with its newly acquired Embraer aircraft in summer 2010, and in October of the same year LOT resumed service to Asia, with three weekly flights on the Warsaw – Hanoi route. In addition to this, new services to Tbilisi, Damascus and Cairo were inaugurated.
In 2010 LOT cancelled flights, after 14 years of operation, between Kraków and the US destinations of Chicago and New York, citing profitability concerns and lack of demand. The last US-Kraków flight departed on 27 October 2010 from Chicago O'Hare. The aircraft previously used on this route were then re-deployed to serve LOT's Warsaw-Hanoi route. This route to Hanoi (the Vietnamese capital) was largely under-utilised by European carriers and has proved very successful for LOT in the beginning.
On 31 May 2010, CEO of LOT Sebastian Mikosz stated that the airline will be replacing its fleet to meet a goal of one-third new by 2011. Replacement already started with Embraer E-Jets 175/170. For domestic expanded operations, LOT purchased Dash 8-Q400 over ATR 72-600 aircraft. To date a total of six Boeing 787 Dreamliners have been delivered, with the remaining two aircraft expected to join the fleet by 2017.
On 5 February 2011, new CEO of LOT Marcin Piróg announced that the airline is considering, in the near future, to open service to Baku, Sochi, Stuttgart, Oslo, Gothenburg, Dubai, Kuwait and Ostrava from its Warsaw hub. Previously planned flights to Donetsk in Ukraine have already been inaugurated, as have routes to Tokyo and Beijing. This has now become feasible since the finalizing of an agreement on Siberian overflight permits for LOT by the Polish and Russian governments in November 2011. As a result of the new agreement, LOT will receive new take-off and landing slots at Moscow's Sheremetyevo International Airport and will begin service on a re-instated, improved Beijing service once Aeroflot begins service to Kraków on 1 June 2012. Although delayed from the original plans, LOT began flights to Tokyo Narita Airport in Japan on 13 January 2016, with flights three times per week.
In 2010/11 LOT also announced its new 'East meets West' route expansion policy, which will see the airline add a number of new Asian destinations to its schedule over the coming years. The policy aims to take advantage of LOT's perspectives as a transit airline and the substantial passenger growth seen on Europe-Asia flights in recent years. Also, in line with this policy LOT has introduced, for the first time, a premium economy on all Boeing 787 aircraft. Additionally lie-flat seats are available in business class and all of the airline's new long-haul aircraft have been fitted with Thales personal entertainment systems.
In June 2012 LOT announced all services to New York would be centralized from Newark and JFK Terminal 4 to JFK Terminal 1 from October 2012. It would also enter into a code-share agreement with JetBlue to increase the number of onward connections available to its customers. In July 2012 it was announced that a planned sale of a major stake in the airline to Turkish Airlines would not go ahead. The main problem was the inability of Turkish Airlines to own a majority stake as it is a Non-EU company. The airline is now again seeking a partner to take a major stake, likely a fellow EU airline.
Amidst a restructuring plan which saw the airline return to profitability for the first time in seven years, a 22 June 2015 press conference revealed details pertaining to the airlines future prospects. These include reinstating routes renounced as part of EU sanctions imposed following Polish government aid granted to ensure the airlines survival, as well as new long haul routes to Asia and North America.
As part of the airlines future expansion a fleet increase may see the carrier operating up to 88 aircraft by 2025. Air Lease Corporation confirmed on October 13, 2016 the placement of 6 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft with LOT, and options to lease 5 further aircraft of the same type. Four 737-800 aircraft will also be leased through AerCap with deliveries beginning in April 2017. Long haul plans will see the addition of further Boeing 787 aircraft, potentially increasing the total to 16 in the near future and 24 by 2025, however no decision on the Dreamliner variant has been affirmed.
Currently, the Polish government owns 68% of shares in LOT; Regionalny Fundusz Gospodarczy S.A. owns 25%; employees own 6.93%. It was intended to privatise LOT in 2011. Although advanced talks were undertaken with Turkish Airlines a deal failed to materialise. This was largely due to the inability of Turkish Airlines, as a non-EU airline, to buy a majority of the airline. If they fail to find a new buyer the airline may be floated. LOT lost 145.5 million pln in 2011, compared to a 163.1 million pln loss in 2010.
- Current subsidiaries
- LOT Charters, wholly owned subsidiary operating charter flights for Polish touroperators.
- Regional Jet, 49% stake owned by LOT.
- Former subsidiaries
- Eurolot, a formerly wholly owned subsidiary airline, founded on 1 July 1997. The Polish Treasury currently owns 62.1 percent while LOT retains 37.9 percent. However, it was confirmed in July 2012 that LOT wishes to sell its remaining stake in Eurolot, as part of its privatization scheme However, on 6 February 2015, the decision was taken to liquidate the airlines and transfer the majority of its fleet to LOT.
- Centralwings, a low-cost subsidiary that was operational between 2004 and 2009.
LOT Polish Airlines codeshares with the following airlines:
- Adria Airways
- Aegean Airlines
- Air Canada
- Air China
- Air Moldova
- Air Serbia
- All Nippon Airways
- Asiana Airlines
- Austrian Airlines
- Croatia Airlines
- Scandinavian Airlines
- Singapore Airlines
- Swiss International Air Lines
- TAP Portugal
- Turkish Airlines
- United Airlines
|Boeing 737-800||—||4||—||TBA||Deliveries starting April 2017|
|Boeing 737 MAX 8||—||6||5||TBA||Deliveries starting November 2017|
|Boeing 787-8||6||2||6||18||21||213||252||Options are including 787-9|
|Embraer ERJ-170||6||—||—||–||–||70||70||SP-LDK in Star Aliance livery|
|Embraer ERJ-175||12||—||—||22||10||50||82||SP-LIE in retro livery|
SP-LIG and SP-LIH operated for the Government of Poland
1 operated for Nordica
- On 7 September 2005 the airline ordered 7 (with 2 options and 5 purchase rights) Boeing 787-8s for its long haul operations. On 19 February 2007 the airline converted 1 option to make a total of 8 787s on order. On 7 March 2011 Boeing officially notified LOT Polish Airlines that the delivery of the 787 would be delayed for another year. The airline planned to use the 787 on its Warsaw-Chicago route on 16 January 2013, but the type was grounded on that same day due to issues with its batteries. On 25 April 2013, LOT announced that it would resume its 787 service on 5 June 2013.
- On 4 May 2010, LOT converted 4 Embraer E-175 orders to 4 Embraer E-195 orders. The delivery of these aircraft began in March 2011.
- On 8 June 2010 the Ministry of National Defence of the Republic of Poland leased 2 E-175 aircraft from LOT to be used to transport the highest officials of Poland, after 2010 Polish Air Force Tu-154 crash on 10 April 2010 killing the President of Poland, Lech Kaczynski, his wife, and many other high-ranking officials.
In 2016 the airline agreed to lease 11 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft (five firm commitments and six options) from Air Lease Corporation with deliveries starting in late 2017.
With the delivery of new Boeing 787 long-haul aircraft in 2011/12, LOT introduced a new livery. This design is intended to retain the tradition and spirit of LOT and there will be no major or radical changes to the livery applied to the airline's planes. The most obvious will be the elimination of the blue nose piece and broad cheat-line which runs down each plane's fuselage and the removal of the 'POLSKIE LINIE LOTNICZE' title from each aircraft's starboard side; these will instead be replaced with the words 'POLISH AIRLINES', analogous to the port-side titles in the airline's current livery composition. The tailplane's design will change only slightly, with the colours of the traditional encircled crane logo being inverted and the circle becoming a more simple outline ring. Additionally, the positioning will be such as the circle (with crane) will not entirely fit on the tail. Finally, the colours of the Polish flag, present at the top of the circle in the current LOT livery, will be moved to the bottom of the tailplane and will not connect with the logo. It is hoped that the design, along with the entry into service of the new high-spec 787s, will help refresh LOT's image in the public eye.
Several Embraer aircraft have special advertising liveries. While SP-LIE, an E175, was repainted as a retrojet into the 1945 livery that was used with some modifications until the 1970s.
LOT's iconic livery was introduced in the late 1980s and has undergone no major changes. The livery is essentially a predominantly white scheme with elements of traditional aviation design incorporated. The latter elements are visible in the design of the LOT livery as the area of dark blue under the cockpit windscreen, the long cheat-line which is painted down the side of the plane and the large traditional logo which is emblazoned on the tailplane.
This livery featured a lighter blue for a mid level cheat line and tail fin. The Polish flag was much larger on the tail while the crane logo on the tail was much smaller and above the flag. Early versions of this livery did not feature blue above the cheat line and had white as the main color on the tail. The flag was a higher on the tail and the logo was below or forward of the flag on these early versions.
Several Il-62 aircraft were named after famous Polish people. The 5 Boeing 767s LOT ordered from Boeing were named after Polish cities. The used and short term leased 767s LOT operated did not get names. This practice was not continued upon arrival of LOT's Boeing 787s and the introduction of the airline's updated livery.
Loyalty programme and lounges
Miles & More
LOT uses Lufthansa's frequent-flyer programme, Miles & More. The programme is also used by several other European airlines, including Lufthansa subsidiaries Austrian Airlines and Swiss International Air Lines (plus Swiss Global Air Lines), Adria Airways, Croatia Airlines, Luxair, and Brussels Airlines. Miles & More members can earn miles on LOT flights and Star Alliance partner flights, as well as through LOT credit cards, and purchases made through LOT Polish Airlines shops. Status within Miles & More is determined by miles flown during one calendar year with specific partners. Membership levels include: Basic (no minimal threshold), Frequent Traveller (Silver, 35,000 mile threshold), Senator (Gold, 100,000 mile threshold), and HON Circle (Black, 600,000 mile threshold over two calendar years). All non-basic Miles & More status levels offer lounge access and executive bonus miles, with the higher levels offering more exclusive benefits.
LOT operates, in cooperation with PPL (Polish State Airports), the 'Polonez' Business Lounge at Warsaw Chopin Airport. The lounge is accessible to anyone with a business class ticket for travel with LOT or any other Star Alliance member airline, and those who are members of a Star Alliance 'Gold' loyalty programme (such as Miles & More Senator status) or the Polish State Airports authority's 'Good Start' programme. The Polonez lounge recently, in 2010, underwent a major refit and is now claimed to be able to offer high-quality standards of service to all passengers who wish to make use of it. Some examples of services offered to passengers include business conferencing facilities, internet access, work space, local, national and foreign-language media (newspapers and television) and, a new development, individual access to an Apple iPad.
The Polonez lounge's opening hours are currently coordinated with those of LOT's flight schedule, however, it has been stated that these times are open to review at any time and could well be changed in the future. The lounge is located in Chopin Airport's Terminal A, one floor above the departures lounge (in the Schengen zone after security check), and is accessible by stairs and lift.
- On 23 November 1937, a LOT Douglas DC-2-115D (registered SP-ASJ) crashed in the Pirin Mountains, Bulgaria in bad weather, killing all six on board. The aircraft was operating a scheduled Thessaloniki-Sofia passenger service.
- On 22 July 1938 at 17:38 local time, a LOT Lockheed 14H Super Electra (registered SP-BNG) crashed into a hill at Negrilesa, near Stulpicani, Romania, killing all 14 on board; the cause of the crash was unknown, but the aircraft was probably struck by lightning. The aircraft was operating a scheduled Warsaw-Lwów (now Lviv)-Czerniowce (now Chernovtsy)-Bucharest-Thessaloniki passenger service.
- On 15 November 1951 at approximately 09:00 local time, a LOT Lisunov Li-2 (registered SP-LKA) crashed near Tuszyn in bad weather and low visibility conditions, killing the 15 passengers and three crew on board. The aircraft had been on a scheduled flight from Łódź to Kraków.
- One passenger died on 19 March 1954, when a LOT Li-2 (registered SP-LAH) collided with a hill near Gruszowiec following the blackout of a radio beacon.
- On 14 June 1957 at 23:10 local time, LOT Flight 232 from Warsaw to Moscow, which was operated by using an Ilyushin Il-14 (registered SP-LNF) crashed during approach of Vnukovo International Airport in bad weather and visibility conditions, killing five of the eight passengers and four of the five crew members.
- On 25 August 1960, a LOT Li-2 (registered SP-LAL) crashed near Tczew while on a survey flight over the Vistula River floods, killing six.
- On 19 December 1962, a LOT Vickers Viscount 804 (registered SP-LVB) crashed upon approaching Warsaw-Okecie Airport after having encountered a stall situation, killing the 28 passengers and five crew members on board. The aircraft had been on a scheduled flight from Brussels to Warsaw with an intermediate stop at East Berlin.
- On 20 August 1965 at 13:08 UTC, another LOT Vickers Viscount (registered SP-LVA) crashed near Jeuk, Belgium, during a thunderstorm. The four people that had been inside the aircraft on a ferry flight from Lille, France, to Wrocław were killed.
- On 2 April 1969 at 16:08 local time, a LOT Antonov An-24W (registered SP-LTF), crashed into Polica, a mountain near Zawoja. The aircraft with 48 passengers and five crew on board had been operating Flight 165 from Warsaw to Kraków when the pilots lost orientation because of a snowstorm. There were no survivors.
- On 13 May 1977, a LOT Antonov An-12 (registered SP-LZA) operating a cargo flight from Warsaw to Beirut via Varna crashed at approximately 08:45 local time near Aramoun, Lebanon, killing all nine people on board, some of whom were agents of the communist Polish secret service. The aircraft had been approaching Beirut International Airport, but the pilots had encountered language difficulties when communicating with the local air traffic controllers, so that they likely lost the orientation. The aircraft was the property of the Polish Air Force and was flown by military pilots and had previously transported weapons for the Lebanese Civil War, when it crashed it was carrying a cargo of veal.
- On 14 March 1980 at around 11:00 local time, LOT Flight 7 from New York City to Warsaw crashed during a landing attempt at Warsaw-Okecie Airport, killing all 77 passengers and 10 crew members on board the Ilyushin Il-62 (reg. SP-LAA), including singer Anna Jantar. The pilots had encountered a landing gear problem and began the standard go-around procedure, during which the no. 2 engine failed and disintegrated, damaging the rudder and elevator control lines, and making the plane impossible to control. The Ilyushin soon entered into an uncontrollable fatal dive.
- On 26 March 1981, a LOT An-24 (registered SP-LTU) crash-landed near Słupsk after the crew lost situational awareness during a non-precision twin locator approach, killing one passenger. The other 46 passengers and four crew survived, leaving the aircraft through a crack in the fuselage. The only person who died in the following fire had his legs trapped under broken seats.
- On 9 May 1987 at 11:12 local time, LOT Flight 5055 from Warsaw to New York crashed in the Kabaty forest about 5 km from the Warsaw-Okęcie Airport, killing all 172 passengers and 11 crew, making it the deadliest accident in the history of the airline and the country. The aircraft involved, another Ilyushin Il-62 (reg. SP-LBG), had its number 2 inboard engine explode and partially disintegrate, igniting a fire in the cargo hold and irreparably damaging most other control systems of the plane. The pilots attempted a return to Warsaw-Okecie Airport, but lost control of the plane before it entered a steep nose-dive (due to the inoperable destroyed tail elevators).
- On 2 November 1988, LOT Flight 703 had to execute an emergency landing on a field near Rzeszów following an engine failure, killing one passenger. The other 24 passengers and four crew on board the An-24 (registered SP-LTD) survived, though most of them received serious injuries.
Accidents and Crashes
- On 24 July 1940, a LOT Lockheed 14H2 Super Electra (registered SP-BPK, ex G-AGAA) was deliberately crashed at Bucharest; the aircraft was sold to LOT on 20 March 1939 and seized by Romania on 2 September 1939.
- On 26 May 1948, a LOT Lisunov Li-2T (registered SP-LBC) was written off near Popowice.
- On 28 March 1950, a LOT Douglas C-47 Skytrain (registered SP-LCC) was damaged beyond repair in a crash landing.
- Only one day later, on 29 March 1950, the airline lost another aircraft (a Lisunov Li-2, registration SP-LBA) in a crash.
- On 19 May 1952, a LOT Li-2 (registered SP-LBD) was damaged beyond repair in a crash landing near Sowina.
- On 18 July of the same year, another LOT aircraft had to be written off, this time an Ilyushin Il-12 (registered SP-LHC) following a crash landing at Warsaw-Okecie Airport.
- On 15 March 1953, a LOT Douglas C-47 (registered SP-LCH) crashed near Katowice.
- On 14 April 1955, another LOT Li-2 (SP-LAE) crashed near Katowice, with none of the 15 persons on board being killed.
- On 11 April 1958, a LOT Convair CV-240 (registered SP-LPB) crash-landed near Warsaw and was damaged beyond repair, after it had lost one propeller in mid-flight. There were only four people on board who had operated a training flight with the aircraft; all of them survived.
- On 16 December 1963, another LOT Li-2T (registered SP-LBG) was damaged beyond repair when it overshot the runway upon landing at Warsaw-Okecie Airport. The twelve passengers and three crew on board survived.
- On 24 January 1969 at 17:30 local time, a LOT Antonov An-24 (registered SP-LTE) collided with trees during a landing attempt at Wrocław in poor visibility conditions, and crashed. The aircraft had been operating Flight 149 from Warsaw with 44 passengers and four crew members on board, all of which survived.
- On 19 April 1973, a LOT An-24 (registered SP-LTN) crashed during a training flight near Rzeszów.
- On 23 January 1980, a LOT Tupolev Tu-134 (registered SP-LGB) was damaged beyond repair when it overshot the runway upon landing at Warsaw-Okecie Airport and erupted in flames.
- On 31 December 1993 at 10:20 local time, the Boeing 767-300ER (registered SP-LPA) operating LOT Flight 2 from Warsaw to Chicago received substantial damage to its nose gear in a hard landing incident at O'Hare International Airport.
- On 1 November 2011 a Boeing 767-300ER (registered SP-LPC) operating as LOT Flight 16 from Newark Liberty (KEWR) to Warsaw Chopin (EPWA) reported the failure of the hydraulic system that operated the flaps and landing gear. When the backup system was activated, only the flaps were operable. All attempts to lower the landing gear failed, including one last attempt using gravity, forcing a belly landing on runway 33 at Warsaw Chopin, which is rare for modern jetliners. The plane, captained by Tadeusz Wrona, managed to make a successful gear-up landing with no injuries or fatalities. The aircraft was written off.
Communist-era hijacking asylum attempts
During the Cold War, when Europe was divided by the Iron Curtain, several LOT planes were hijacked and forced to land in a Western country, predominantly in Germany and especially in West Berlin, because of it being situated like an island in the Eastern Bloc. The hijackers were usually not prosecuted there, but could claim for political asylum, along with all other passengers who wished to do so.
- On 16 September 1949, five armed people forced a LOT flight from Gdańsk to Łódź to divert to Nyköping in Sweden.
- On 16 December of the same year, another aircraft on the same route was hijacked, this time it diverted to Bornholm Airport in Denmark. Of the 15 passengers and three crew members on board, 16 decided to claim political asylum.
- On 16 October 1969, a LOT Antonov An-24 (registered SP-LTK) was hijacked by two passengers en route a flight from Warsaw to East Berlin and forced to divert to Berlin Tegel Airport, serving West Berlin.
- Another hijacking of a LOT An-24 occurred on 20 November of the same year, this time on a flight from Wrocław to Bratislava, when two passengers forced the pilots to land at Vienna International Airport.
- On 5 June 1970, a LOT An-24 with 24 people on board was hijacked during a flight from Szczecin to Gdańsk and forced to land at Copenhagen Airport, where police forces stormed the airplane and arrested the perpetrator.
- On 9 June 1970, another hijacking attempt occurred on a LOT flight from Katowice to Warsaw, but the two persons involved could be overpowered.
- On 7 August 1970, one passenger on board a LOT An-24 flying from Szczecin to Katowice forced the pilots to divert to Germany. As he did not specify his demands any further, the aircraft landed at Berlin Schönefeld Airport in East Germany, where he was arrested.
- On 19 August 1970, five passengers on board a LOT Ilyushin Il-14 en route a scheduled flight from Gdańsk to Warsaw forced the pilots to divert to Bornholm Airport.
- On 26 August 1970, three persons on board a LOT An-24 on a flight from Katowice to Warsaw demanded to be taken to Austria. The pilots returned to Katowice Airport instead, where the perpetrators were arrested.
- On 4 November 1976, a LOT Tupolev Tu-134 (registered SP-LHD) was forced by two passengers to leave its scheduled route from Copenhagen to Warsaw and land at Vienna International Airport instead, where they surrendered to local police forces.
- On 24 April 1977 another LOT Tu-134 (registered SP-LGA) was hijacked, this time on a flight from Kraków to Nuremberg in West Germany. The pilots returned to Kraków-Balice Airport, where the aircraft was stormed and the hijacker arrested.
- Another hijacking attempt was suppressed on 18 October 1977 on board of a LOT An-24 (registered SP-LTH) en route from Katowice to Warsaw.
- On 30 August 1978, LOT Flight 165 en route from Gdańsk to East Berlin was hijacked by two East German cititzens who forced the pilots to land the Tu-134 involved (registered SP-LGC) at Berlin Tempelhof Airport in West Berlin. Next to the hijackers, another six people decided to claim political asylum, thus making it one of the largest successful escapes over the Berlin Wall.
- On 4 December 1980, a LOT An-24 (registered SP-LTB) was hijacked during a flight from Zielona Góra to Warsaw and forced to land at Berlin-Tegel Airport.
- The SP-LTB aircraft was involved in another hijacking attempt on 10 January 1981, when four passengers demanded to be taken to a Western country during a flight from Katowice to Warsaw. This time, the pilots continued to Warsaw-Okecie Airport, though, where the perpetrators were arrested.
- Another LOT aircraft (an An-24 registered SP-LTI) was forced to land at Tempelhof Airport on 21 July 1981, after having been hijacked during a flight from Katowice to Gdańsk.
- On 5 August 1981, another hijacking attempt occurred on board SP-LTI aircraft flying from Katowice to Gdańsk, but the perpetrator was restrained and arrested upon landing at Gdańsk Airport.
- On 11 August, another hijacking attempt on the Katowice to Gdańsk route was taken down, again on a LOT An-24 (registered SP-LTT).
- On 22 August 1981, a hijacker succeeded in his demands that the aircraft involved (a LOT An-24 registered SP-LTC) be diverted to Berlin-Tegel Airport from its original route from Wrocław to Warsaw.
- On 18 September 1981 twelve passengers rioting on board another LOT An-24 (registered SP-LTG) on a flight from Katowice to Warsaw and demanded the aircraft to divert to West Berlin. A Soviet Mil Mi-8 tried to intercept the aircraft before landing at Tegel Airport, but failed to do so.
- On 22 September four passengers tried to hijack a LOT flight from Warsaw to Koszalin, but the pilots returned the An-12 (registered SP-LTK) to Warsaw-Okecie Airport instead, were the perpetrators were arrested.
- On 29 September, one hijacker demanded the LOT flight from Warsaw to Szczecin to divert to West Berlin; again the pilots landed the An-12 (registered SP-LTP) in Warsaw.
- On 30 April 1982, eight passengers forced a LOT An-12 (registered SP-LTG), that was operating a flight from Wrocław to Warsaw, to divert to Berlin-Tegel Airport.
- On 9 June 1982, two hijackers on board a LOT flight from Katowice to Warsaw demanded the pilots to divert to West Germany. Instead, the aircraft landed in Poland were the perpetrators were arrested.
- On 25 August 1982, two passengers forced the LOT flight from Budapest to Warsaw, that was operated using an Ilyushin Il-18 (registered SP-LSI) to divert to Munich Riem Airport.
- On 22 November 1982 the flight from Wrocław to Warsaw (operated by the An-24 registered SP-LTK) was forced to land at Berlin-Tegel Airport.
- On 25 February 1993, a man forced his way into a LOT ATR 72 (registered SP-LFA) at Rzeszów-Jasionka Airport during the boarding process for Flight 702 to Warsaw, threatening to detonate a hand grenade. Police special forces stormed the aircraft in which there was a total number 30 of people at the time of the assault. The perpetrator (who proved to be unarmed) was shot at and overpowered.
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Media related to LOT Polish Airlines at Wikimedia Commons