LOT plans to re-enter on charter market as anti-Covid strategy worked well during summer 2020


During summer 2020 LOT has offered several sunny destinations. Most of them  were never served before by regular flights from Poland. Demand was successfully stimulated and the move has allowed taking a breath to Polish tour operator industry.

It has also demonstrated the validity of dynamic packaging solution during an uncertain period of time which Covid 19 brought to us. On polish market, dynamic packaging was gaining ground mainly on Dubai and other exotic destinations before. LOT medium-haul flights have accelerated this growth and the tool tends to be good solution for the crisis.

What destinations were the LOT top priority during summer 2020

LOT has aimed mainly classical leisure destinations in Croatia, Montenegro, Italy Greece and Spain, it worked quite well. Potentially polish carrier would like to flew also to more distant destinations but the obstacle was a fleet. LOT has no medium-size aircraft apart of Boeing 737Max currently grounded.

What are the plans for Summer 2021

Some agents expected also LOT to fly sunny destinations  in winter 2019/20. Finally, we have no sign of that. Potentially because of Covid. The other explanation might be a lack of fleet mentioned  above or/end public aid which is still not in place. Lack of liquidity potentially stopped LOT to try the summer strategy during the winter.

But, seems that analytical plans continue on big scale for Summer 2021, LOT has prepared special tour operator fares and has already redistributed it to the market. As for Summer 2020 main interest of LOT will be again focused on  Greece, Italy and Spain.

LOT press release on 18 November revealing detailed plans

On 18 November LOT has partially revealed plans for summer 2021. Polish carries aim is to offer more than 1 million seats on that type of flights. LOT has named several destinations to be saleable soon. Big winners are Greece( Islands) with Mykonos, Zakynthos , Rodos and Santorini followed by Thessaloniki and Athens, Spanish Mayorka will be served too. Italian Palermo is a debut and Croatian destinations Zadar, Spalato and Dubrovnik are present. Other classical destinations like Burgas, Tirana and Warna are on the list too. Malta will also enjoy regular service.

An important detail there is also plan to offer destinations not only from Warsaw.  Regional airports are considered, starting from the most important charter airport in Poland Katowice.

With such a long advance tour operators will be better prepared and dynamic packaging options potentially supported by marketing from key players like OTA eSky and dynamic packaging wizard Best Reisen. Also, big classical Tour Operators like Rainbow, Itaka and Ecco Holiday will most likely support that project as it’s bringing more selling options during still uncertain period. Most likely LOT will also fly not only from Warsaw/Katowice which might be an advantage for local players / smaller tour operators to place their product in competition to big TOs.

Big changes awaiting for Winter 2021/2 ?

Summer 2021 Programmation seems no-brainer/easy choice, we will fly to classical destinations, more interesting news should come on Winter 2021/2. LOT will gain some time and potentially overwhelm both liquidity and fleet problems, to offer something special.

As recent studies show that Poles are still eager to travel massively during winter. Main target is Mediteraen zone LOT has to take it into consideration.

Poles among most welcomed tourists on several key markets

We can expect regular flights to Egypt, Marocco and Tunisia. Turkeys Alanya should be a case too but here there is a bilateral aviation agreement which may be a deal stopper. Another interesting destination to be seriously considered is one of the Canary Islands. In that case the flight is really long one/costly so most probably LOT will expect subsidies from local governments. Still, time to obtain them.

Last but not least Dubai and Gulf countries

Dubai is still the most popular route for winter out of Poland also considering dynamic packing. There is no better moment of time to try to enter the market. Same scheme applies to Oman which is interesting also for Incentive traffic. In both cases, even narrow-body aircraft can be used to serve these destinations.

Covid as a chance to re-enter the charter market

The covid period will most probably help LOT to regain position in the traditional charter market.  On medium-haul  LOT has abandoned it almost totally years ago. Ceo of Polish carrier declared that this was a fundamental mistake. Now is going to revert that. As Covid will also allow LOT to obtain public aid , this is bringing the opportunity to lease a fleet which will be cost-efficient for this segment of the market. Due to the other airlines’ fundamental problems LOT will not have a big challenge to secure suitable aircraft at all.  Something which was quite unthinkable before Covid 19.

LOT decisions will most probably bring additional consequences to the market accelerating competition with classical charter companies.  Innovation in distribution models should take place too. Dynamic packaging offers bought on-line will most probably gain new fans. It’s good as can be a driver for impulse purchases also in post covid era. Winter sunny destinations might be also expected by Incentive agents. They strongly need a cheaper alternative to long hauls, and summer is not a selling period for them at all.