LOT Polish airlines is planning to form a charter subsidiary in response to a growing package-holiday market in Poland.

The airline says that a team has been set up to investigate the legal and financial aspects of the plan, but the new company is unlikely to be founded before the end of 1998. LOT says that it has "-recognised that it makes sense" to run charter operations separately from its scheduled routes.

LOT's charter frequencies in the first five months of this year are up by 50% compared with 1996 figures. The most popular destinations for Polish passengers have been Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, Spain, Tunisia and Turkey.

The airline carried 120,000 charter passengers on 650 flights in 1996, exceeding expectations by 25%. This year, about 200,000 passengers and 1,000 charter flights are expected - a 66% increase in traffic. Demand for charter flights has forced the airline to lease two additional 145-seat Boeing 737-300s in July.

The plan for a charter subsidiary follows the founding of LOT's regional daughter company EuroLOT, which is intended to cut costs on short-haul operations.

EuroLOT is taking over its parent's eight-aircraft Aero International (Regional) ATR 72 fleet and its domestic network, along with some short-haul international routes (Flight International, 9-15 July, P12).

Source: Flight International