The Polish airline, LOT, has announced that is will, as of June 6, 2008, suspend flights on the Warsaw – Beijing route until 2010 due to delays in the Boeing 787 Dreamliner program on the part of Boeing.
According to LOT, delivery of LOT’s first Dreamliners (ordered in 2005) has been postponed from 2008 to 2010. Therefore, LOT has been forced to postpone its development program of Far East flights until 2010.
“The decision on continuing flights to such a distant destination is based on economic calculation,” LOT said. “In the present situation, the profitability of the connection to Beijing could only be ensured by 787 Boeing aircraft. LOT, just like any other company operating in a competitive market, cannot sustain losses on account of activities it pursues.”
The profitability of the Far East – Warsaw connection is also adversely affected by the necessity of following the southern route and high fuel prices, the Polish carrier said.
In April, Boeing announced yet another postponement of the first flight of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner from the end of the second quarter of 2008 to the end of the fourth quarter of 2008. This means that the program of aircraft deliveries to LOT will be delayed by several months. LOT, expecting delays in deliveries, has already extended lease agreements with respect to long-distance Boeing 767-300s that are being currently used.
In total, LOT ordered eight Boeing 787 planes with a delivery deadline of four planes by the end of 2008; then one plane in 2009; and subsequent three in 2010 – with a purchase option for eight planes in the following years. Currently, the plans foresee delivery of five new planes in 2010.