Biggest crisis in history of commercial aviation is ongoing: LOT board member

“We are dealing with the greatest crisis in the history of commercial aviation. Air traffic died down in early 2020 as a result of the pandemic. Since then, it has been very slowly rebuilding. The United States and Asian destinations, which were the main profit margin for LOT Polish Airlines (PLL LOT), have been virtually closed for several months,” Michał Fijoł, member of the management board of PLL LOT, the Polish state airline, said at the European Economic Congress in Katowice.

Michał Fijoł took part in the “Air transport - it won't be the same?” panel, during which he summarised the current situation on the airline market from the carrier's point of view. He admitted that it would take some time to recover from the pre-pandemic reality.

Mr Fijoł explained that LOT is adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic by focusing on short flights during the vacation period. “But such a season is short, it lasts from June to September. At the moment it is heading towards the end,” he emphasised.

The LOT board member added this year in September business travel had already begun to recover. “At the beginning, small and medium-sized enterprises are coming back, at the level of 30-40 percent compared to 2019. Big companies aren't flying yet, or do so to a very small extent. We hope that this traffic will come back to us in the second quarter of 2022,” he stated.

“The tourist traffic will certainly increase. Hence, we are already starting talks with tour operators about our cooperation in 2022. At PLL LOT, we adapt to market conditions and actively fight for passengers to maximise revenue,” Michał Fijoł assured.

One recent step in this regard was the introduction of a flexible ticket refund policy and in-flight entertainment onboard a medium-haul fleet such as the Boeing 737-800 aeroplanes.