IATA: LOT seeks further restructuring funds

Cape Town
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Polish flag carrier LOT is seeking additional funding to support its restructuring programme, although it believes the total sum required will be lower than original estimates.

Chief executive Sebastian Mikosz, speaking during the IATA annual general meeting in Cape Town, said the airline intended to "keep as low as possible" its needs.

"The cost of restructuring is expensive," he says. LOT has already had a Zl400 million ($123 million) loan from the government - approved by the European Commission - but Mikosz says additional funding in the "same ballpark" is necessary.

But he points out that the total funding is lower than an earlier estimate of Zl1 billion.

He says the Polish upper parliament, the Senat, is about to consider a proposed change to laws which prevents the entirety of LOT being sold, to enable full privatisation of the carrier.

Mikosz says that, once this is passed by the Senat, it will need to be signed into law by the country's president - but he believes this is effectively a formality, as it has already received the president's backing.

While the privatisation bill has been controversial, its supporters in parliament believe that offering full ownership of LOT is more likely to result in the carrier's attracting an investor.

"We've been preparing the bride to get married," says Mikosz. "Now we have to start dating some guys."