Polish flag carrier LOT will launch long-haul operations from Budapest next May with year-round connections to New York and Chicago.
LOT will fly to New York four times a week with services to Chicago operating twice a week. As a result, the carrier will permanently base a Boeing 787 Dreamliner in Budapest. The Hungarian capital has been without direct services to the US since 2011.
“More than 165,000 passengers travel between Budapest and New York and Chicago every year,” explained LOT CEO Rafał Milczarski. “Today, they change mainly in Frankfurt, Paris, Amsterdam, and London, which makes their journey considerably longer. We believe that the inhabitants of Budapest and the neighbouring areas should be offered a better product and thus we have decided to introduce direct flight connections between Hungary and the USA. Our strategy assumes taking up every business opportunity and we cannot waste such potential.”
LOT believes the new direct services will appeal to residents in neighbouring Eastern European states with more than eight million people living within a two-hour drive from Budapest airport. Milczarski says the new services will complement and not compete with those offered from its Warsaw hub.
“Many people who come from this part of Europe live in New York and Chicago. Economic relations are also developing. The new direct connections will certainly provide an additional stimulus for an increase in the number of passengers and in cargo operations” the LOT CEO added.
Jost Lammers, CEO of Budapest Airport, added: “We are very proud to host the first base of LOT Polish Airlines outside the borders of Poland. This is a truly historic moment for all three countries involved and creates a win-win situation for the passengers both in Hungary and in the US.”
The airline’s Dreamliner’s are configured in a three-class layout, offering Business Class, Premium Economy and Economy Class seating.
Lammers added: “Our market surveys clearly show that direct flights between these two major cities on the East Coast and the Mid-West of the US and Budapest are in high demand and will be a huge success in all segments. Connectivity with a Dreamliner will also boost the economy through the use of belly cargo capacity.”