LOT Polish Airlines took off on its first scheduled flight from Budapest to Seoul. From now on, state-of-the-art Boeing 787 Dreamliners will be operating this route regularly, three times a week. It is the first long-haul service to be launched by LOT to Asia from outside Poland, and the third non-stop long-haul flight from Hungary operated by LOT worldwide. The launch of new flights from Hungary marks another stage of market consolidation in Central and Eastern Europe, of which LOT is currently becoming an undisputed leader.
LOT Polish Airlines, the fastest growing airline in Europe, today launched regular flights between the Hungarian and the South Korean capitals. From now on, Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft will be operating this route three times weekly, according to the following schedule:
BUD-ICN LO2001 12:25 – 6:05 (+1) Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays
ICN-BUD LO2002 07:35 – 12:20 Mondays, Wednesdays, Saturdays
“The launch of flights between Seoul and Budapest is yet another milestone in LOT’s history, and another stage of building our second home base in Hungary. I am certain that our services will meet the expectations of Koreans and Hungarians. The tourism and business potential between Budapest and Seoul is huge – the annual passenger traffic on that route reaches 75,000, and the number of passengers travelling annually between the CEE region and Seoul exceeds 580,000. As a leader in Central and Eastern Europe, LOT responds to passengers’ needs, offering flights not to one, but already to two European capitals, Warsaw and Budapest, from Seoul – said Rafał Milczarski, the CEO of LOT Polish Airlines.
Dr. Rolf Schnitzler, CEO of Budapest Airport said, “We are delighted to see how much we have been developing since the opening of LOT’s Budapest base to further improve passenger connectivity, including the dedicated LOT transfer counters and new business lounge. There are even some dedicated zones serving long-haul passengers such as Pier B. The new flight to Seoul by LOT Polish Airlines shortens the journey for Hungarian travelers to East Asia to 11 hours, which is a great opportunity for business, study or leisure travelers.”
Levente Magyar, parliamentary state secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade underlined, “This route could not have been opened without the three countries joining forces as friends. We are delighted that LOT Polish Airlines assumed the role of national carrier for Hungary building on the traditional friendship between Hungary and Poland, but our relationship with the Korean government based on mutual trust was also necessary.”
The Budapest-Seoul flight will take approximately 11 hours. The new service will offer transfer opportunities to other LOT flights out of Budapest: Brussels, Prague, Stuttgart and Warsaw.
Passengers on board LOT’s Dreamliner will have three travel classes at their disposal – LOT Business Class, with flat-bed seats and cuisine resembling that of the best restaurants, LOT Premium Economy Class, with larger, individual space and comfortable seats with footrests and thigh support, cocktail tables and an extensive menu, as well as LOT Economy Class, with modern seats, individual on-board entertainment screens and USB ports.
Especially for passengers travelling on the Budapest-Seoul route, LOT has, inter alia, a Korean menu, while the on-board entertainment system available in Korean language features Korean movies. Ultimately, LOT plans to ensure a Korean-speaking crew member on board each flight.
“Our decision to launch non-stop flights between Budapest and Seoul shows how much we believe in Hungary, as one of the key markets in Central and Eastern Europe. For LOT, it is also a completely new chapter in leveraging our operations. For the first time in its 90-year history, LOT is launching a connection to Asia from outside Poland,” says Rafał Milczarski, LOT’S CEO.
The launch of the flight between Budapest and Seoul is another step in building LOT’s hub in Budapest. Starting from 30 March 2020, i.e. in less than two years from the launch of non-stop long-haul flights to the US, the number of flights operated by LOT from the capital of Hungary will total 12; passengers will fly directly to Warsaw, Krakow, London City, Bucharest, Brussels, Stuttgart, Prague, Belgrade, Sofia, as well as New York City, Chicago and now Seoul. To operate its newly announced European flights, three of LOT’s Embraer 195s will be permanently stationed in Budapest. Starting from the next summer season, the carrier’s fleet in Budapest will amount to four short-distance aircraft and one Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
Currently, LOT’s cabin crew operating non-stop flights from Budapest totals 80 flight attendants and a dozen or so Hungarian pilots. It is recruiting new staff members, and plans to employ approximately 150 new pilots until the end of 2019, to work at its bases in Warsaw and Budapest.
The Budapest-Seoul route is part of the profitable growth strategy, which LOT Polish Airlines has been implementing since early 2016. As result over three years, LOT has become the fastest growing airline in Europe, doubled its fleet size and launched over 70 new routes worldwide. By the end of 2019, additional B787 Dreamliners will join the fleet, increasing the total number of LOT wide-body aircraft to 15.
In 2018, LOT carried more than 8.9 million passengers aboard its flights, an increase of 2 million versus 2017. For 2019, it plans to welcome 10 million guests. LOT Polish Airlines is a fully integrated member of the Miles & More frequent flyer program and a member of Star Alliance since 2003.
Tickets for the flights between Budapest and Seoul can be purchased through all sales channels, including the lot.com website, the LOT Contact Center, LOT Travel offices and travel agents.