LOT Polish Airlines, a modern airline connecting Central and Eastern Europe, made its inaugural flight to Sri Lanka from Warsaw to Colombo on November 4, 2019. The new aircraft received the traditional water cannon salute on its landing, which was one of the special occasions to be seen in the field of Airport & Aviation.
The crew and the passengers were given a warm welcome on their arrival by the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB), along with a traditional dance troupe which provided glamour and entertainment to the fascinated cabin crew and passengers of the Airline, who had a great opportunity to experience Sri Lankan talent and culture. They showed their admiration of the performance by giving the dance troupe a sound applause.
Among the distinguished passengers onboard inside the Boeing 787 aircraft were Poland’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs – Maciei Lang, Polish Ambassador to Sri Lanka – Adam Burakowski, LOT Polish Airlines Chief Commercial officer – Michael Fijol, Company spokesperson – Michal Czernicki, and C. Wijerathna – Sri Lanka Ambassador for Poland. The inaugural flight consisted of 15 media personnel, 25-30 Business delegations, and academics among other passengers.
LOT Polish Airlines is one of the largest airlines in Central and Eastern Europe, whereas it’s one of the fastest growing airlines in the European region. They started direct flights to Miami and New Delhi last year, andSri Lanka is their new destination.
Apart from that, a large number of passengers are coming from Central Eastern Europe to Sri Lanka. It’s close to 100,000 per year, and a lot of passengers are coming from Western Europe to Sri Lanka, which is nearly two million. This was the reason the company decided that it was a good destination to operate their flights and also to visit Sri Lanka.
“People from Europe absolutely appreciate everything which Sri Lanka has to offer”, said Michael Fijol, Chief Commercial Officer and board member of the LOT Polish Airlines.
“Beautiful weather, the nature and the beaches. Generally, this will be the favorite destination for having a week or two in winter. Winter in Poland means zero degrees, or even some snow. And to have such a change from snow to 30 degrees and beautiful weather in Sri Lanka is something which will be most beloved by them. Thank you very much for having us here, and also for your warm welcome. We hope that this connection will create a positive impact for us, for you, your economy and your tourism, and for us, to establish a great connection to our customers and passengers,” Mr. Michael Fijol also said.
Later in the evening Lot Polish with Hayleys Aviation arranged a gala evening for the visiting delegation and the industry stakeholders.
There was a business forum arranged by EDB with the business delegation from Poland on November 5, while the University of Colombo also organized an event with the Polish academics who arrived in the inaugural flight.
LOT Polish Airlines is a legacy airline, being the national carrier of Poland, operating from its primary base in Warsaw. They serve more than 100 direct routes to Poland, Europe, North America, (New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami and Toronto) and Asia.
Each year, LOT Polish Airlines boards 9 million passengers. It is the only airline in the region to offer direct – long haul flights from Warsaw to New York, Newark, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami,Toronto,Beijing, Tokyo, Seoul, and Singapore. The Airline also provides services from Krakow to Chicago, from Rzeszow to Newark and also from Budapest to New York and Chicago.
With this inauguration, LOT Polish will operate weekly direct flights to Sri Lanka until end March 2020, and will consider extending its operations beyond winter, depending on the viability. Currently Sri Lanka attracts 15,000 tourists from Poland, which is expected to be increased with this new airline operation.