Polish Aviation Group gets off the ground

The state-owned Polish Aviation Group (PGL) has been officially formed, incorporating LOT Polish Airlines and two Maintenance and Repair Organisation (MRO) companies.

“We want to make it Central Eastern Europe’s favourite airline”, said Rafał Milczarski, the groups’ CEO. “Our goal is to achieve success in the whole region.”

On Wednesday, the group officially came into being from a merger of three companies: LOT Polish Airlines, Lot Aircraft Maintenance Services and LS Airport Services.

The PGL’s budget exceeds PLN 2.5bn (EUR 580 mln). This will provide great potential for the development of Polish aviation, Mr Milczarski said.

PGL’s establishment dates back to January 2018, but only in August was the formation approved by Poland’s Office for the Protection of Competition (UOKiK).

The formation of PGL is part of a broader strategy to improve Poland’s position in the airline business. Plans are already in place to establish a huge Central Communication Port (CPK) in central Poland. It will have about five times the capacity of Poland’s currently largest airport, Warsaw Okęcie (Chopin), and looks set to become one of the largest airports in Europe.

The mega-airport’s creation remains a disputed issue. Among the controversies is the potential closure of Okęcie Airport as well as a few smaller ones, such as those in Łódź or Warsaw-Modlin. The high cost, estimated by the government as at least PLN 31bn, is another factor putting the investment in doubt. The CPK is planned to open around 2027.