The Polish government is working on a clone of the national carrier. They're even working on getting an operator's license. A controlled bankruptcy of LOT is becoming more probable.
At the beginning of June, Polish media made an unusual discovery: Polska Grupa Lotnicza PGL, the state holding company of the national airline, has founded a new subsidiary. It is called LOT Polish Airlines. The current LOT operates internationally under exactly this name, but officially it is called Polskie Linie Lotnicze LOT.
PGL explained that the LOT clone had been founded to organize operational activities, but did not give any further details. Meanwhile, the Polish press speculated that the government might plan a controlled bankruptcy of the current airline. Jacek Sasin, Minister of State Enterprise and Deputy Prime Minister, initially only stated that he did not have time to contradict every false report that was circulating.
«It’s a last resort»
By mid-June Sasin sounded quite different. In an interview, the minister said that he also did not rule out the possibility of controlled insolvency for LOT. «This scenario is of course possible, but it is a last resort,» said Sasin.
Now the portal Pasazer, which started the story with its research, reports that the new PGL subsidiary LOT Polish Airlines applied for an Air Operator Certificate (AOC) last week. The responsible authority is already supposed to examine the application.
AOC important prerequisite
An airline must have an AOC in order to start operations. To obtain it, it needs, among other things, adequate financial resources, qualified personnel in several areas and at least one aircraft.
An AOC would be an important prerequisite if PGL and the Polish Government really do want to send Polskie Linie Lotnicze LOT into bankruptcy in a controlled manner and resurrect LOT Polish Airlines as a new company.
Salaries and leasing costs should fall
And why all this? Because a bankruptcy would make it easier to end things: leasing of surplus aircraft, orders for new jets, excess staff, unwanted wage agreements. The new airline could then start out smaller and on new terms. Minister Sasin already said in connection with state aid for LOT that it was crucial to reduce fixed costs such as salaries and leasing payments.