eurolot enters liquidation; bookings blocked after 31 March; 17 European airports affected

Eurolot Poland

Soon to be no longer a common sight at the likes of Warsaw, Krakow, Bydgoszcz and Gdansk airports following the demise of the state-controlled regional airline eurolot. Its closure will be a big loss to these airports, as the airline is the #2, #4, #2 and #3 airline in terms of weekly seats respectively at these airports.

Time has been called on eurolot, the struggling state-owned regional airline, with 17 of Europe’s airports affected, many of which are in its home market of Poland. In justifying its drastic decision, which had been foreseen by many, the Polish Treasury, which owns 62.1% of the airline, said there was no prospect of profits in the foreseeable future. As a result, the airline has blocked all bookings after 31 March this year, and reservations made for April onwards will be refunded.

Second biggest airline at Warsaw’s main airport

The regional carrier was founded in December 1996, with operations commencing in July 1997. Originally operating ATR equipment, eurolot currently has a fleet of 11 Q400s, one of which is in storage (according to Planespotters.net). Its biggest operating base is at Warsaw’s main airport, where it is currently the second largest carrier – of the 39 serving airlines ‒ in terms of weekly seats.

Chart - Eurolot's Top 12 airports Weekly seats

Source: OAG Analyser for w/c 6 February 2015.

While the carrier’s loss at Warsaw will be significant, the capital city airport is perhaps the most likely Polish airport to secure replacement services or additional capacity from its incumbent airlines as a result of eurolot’s pending closure. Its demise will be more noticeable elsewhere in Poland: at Krakow, eurolot is the #2 airline in terms of weekly seats, of its 11 serving carriers; at Bydgoszcz, #2 airline of two serving carriers; and at Gdansk, #3 airline of 10 serving carriers. Indeed, at Bydgoszcz, only Ryanair will remain as a serving airline come April unless replacement capacity is found. Of the airline’s top 12 served airports, six are in Poland, while six are international (highlighted in light green).

Out of adversity comes new route opportunities

Some of the aircraft currently being use by eurolot are expected to be transferred to LOT Polish Airlines at the end of next month. However, on which routes they will be deployed is unsure at this stage. Of the airline’s top 11 served routes, three are domestic (highlighted in light green), while eight are international.

Chart - Eurolot's Top 11 routes Weekly frequencies

Source: OAG Analyser for w/c 6 February 2015.

No doubt some of these top route opportunities will be scooped up by new or existing carriers, particularly those with the most capacity, which would tend to indicate where the most significant demand lies. Only three of the top 11 routes are currently competed, and one of those – Warsaw to Krakow – features partner LOT. However, the fact that the airline has failed to make money in the absence of competition on eight out of 11 of its top routes in terms of weekly frequency, would seem to indicate that airlines will not be queuing up to replace eurolot.

Route Competition (WF)
Bydgoszcz-Warsaw
Warsaw-Düsseldorf germanwings (14)
Gdansk-Krakow Ryanair (2)
Warsaw-Zagreb
Krakow-Zurich
Warsaw-Stuttgart
Warsaw-Wroclaw LOT Polish Airlines (28)
Wroclaw-Zurich
Warsaw-Chisinau
Krakow-Amsterdam
Gdansk-Amsterdam
Source: OAG Analyser for w/c 6 February 2015.

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Comments

  1. Pity to see eurolot disappear. Last month, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has already announced to launch daily flights between Amsterdam and Krakow from 18 May. The Amsterdam-Gdansk route becomes vacant when eurolot ceases flying.

  2. jan says:

    Most of the info. in the article is out of date: In Bydgoszcz, Lufthansa is starting flights to FRA from 30 March, BZG-WAW route is a PSO, money will be given back to the state so a new contract with an airline can be expected soon, or perhaps lufthansa will increase frequencies after there will be no competition for flights to a hub, the loads on this route were disappointing anyway, thats why K2 has added 3rd daily flight to fulfil their contract of a set number of flights before dropping the route. Most routes from WAW will be taken over by LOT, that is Dusseldorf, Zagreb, Chisinau, and a number of others which were not mentioned in the article. Gdansk-Krakow will also be taken over as, even though its against LOT’s plans, it was one of K2s most profitable routes. Krakow will not suffer as flights to Amsterdam and Zurich were announced by their respective based airlines. Biggest loosers will be Gdansk, Lublin, Rzeszow, and a number of airports in Croatia which had numerous seasonal connection to cities all over Poland.

    • Marc Watkins says:

      Hi Jan. Thanks for your comments. Articles like this – on a fast-moving subject – are always out of date as soon as they are written – as the situation changes fast. Don’t understand your point on BZG-FRA with LH…as FRA is not mentioned in the story once? I was not aware that BZG-WAW was a PSO route…so yes I have no doubt that the Government will find another provider. Let’s hope that LO does step in at WAW and replace the lost K2 capacity…only time will tell. You are right about ZRH-KRK with SWISS and AMS-KRK with KLM (both starting in May)…maybe these announcements even helped to force the hand of the decision makers…knowing that K2 would not be able to compete with the based hub carrier.

  3. Actually, there’s some more competition from Ryanair itself, operating also 12wf Warsaw-Wroclaw. In the last few months there have been some attempts from Etihad Regional (Darwin) and AirBerlin to serve the Polish market into their hubs. Etihad Regional is out of the play, but AirBerlin is serving Berlin up to 8 times daily when counting all flights into Poland. As well, Lufthansa has also introduced more competition from its hubs in FRA and MUC, as well as dropping the unit cost through Germanwings into Dusseldorf. This might not have a direct relation into the routes itself, but it does on the need of using eurolot routes to connect further away. And last but not least, the aggressive expansion of bus services all across Poland might had an influence on point to point passengers, as well as offering new chances to move into the country to catch direct connections from some other nearby regional airports. All that reduces yield on key routes and makes eurolot operation not sustainable anymore. I think it wont be much recovering from some other airlines. LOT might try to recover those with PSO and maybe serve its hub in WAW, but not much transversal routes. It is maybe a chance to enforce its hub strategy.

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