Poland’s LOT Leases Airbus A330 in Waiting for Boeing 787 Return

Polish airline LOT, the first European airline to receive Boeing Co. 787 Dreamliners, is leasing an Airbus SAS A330 to operate transatlantic flights as the U.S. aircraft remains barred from commercial service.

The A330 is being leased from Portugal’s Hi Fly and will fly for LOT from April 12 to the end of May, by which time the Warsaw-based carrier hopes 787s will return to service, airline spokesman Marek Klucinski said by phone. If Dreamliner operations remain suspended, the lease can be extended, he said.

LOT has taken delivery of two of eight 787s with one stranded in Chicago after its inaugural transatlantic flight and the other parked in Warsaw. The disruption is costing LOT, which is surviving on state aid, around $50,000 per day, Tomasz Balcerzak, chief of operations, has said.

The A330 will be used on flights from Warsaw to New York and Chicago, LOT said in a statement. The aircraft, which will be operated partly by LOT crew, can accommodate 18 passengers in business class and 288 in economy.

LOT said it will seek compensation from Boeing for costs associated with the 787 delay. Those negotiations will resume once the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has decided when the jet can return to service.

The FAA grounded the global 787 fleet after incidents involving the aircraft’s lithium-ion battery produced by Tokyo-based GS Yuasa Corp. Boeing conducted a flight test to validate a proposed battery fix on March 25 and Chief Executive Officer Jim McNerney said today in Washington D.C. that commercial operations would resume soon.

Boeing used a third LOT 787, which has yet to be handed over to the carrier, for this week’s test.