Ailing Polish carrier LOT may ask for another government loan

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WARSAW, Poland – Poland’s ailing airline Lot may need to ask the government for another loan after its loss last year could have exceeded 200 million zlotys ($64 million), its chief executive was quot

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WARSAW, Poland – Poland’s ailing airline Lot may need to ask the government for another loan after its loss last year could have exceeded 200 million zlotys ($64 million), its chief executive was quoted as saying by news agency PAP on Wednesday.

Sebastian Mikosz was quoted as saying the airline’s finances were currently being audited and that the final decision on whether LOT needed further state assistance should be made in two or three weeks’ time.

“As the CEO I wish such a need won’t be necessary … But I must consider the fact that I may have to turn to the Treasury Minister with such a request (for further financial help),” Mikosz said.

LOT, which is currently undergoing a restructuring programme, already received 400 million zlotys in help from the Treasury due to continuing losses and mounting debts. It lost 1.1 billion zlotys between 2008 and 2011.

LOT, which began flying in 1929 and is one of the world’s oldest airlines, has been hit by cut-throat competition from low-cost competitors such as Ryanair and easyJet , as well as high fuel prices and depressed demand during Europe’s economic downturn.

Poland is now considering scrapping a law which bans the sale of a majority stake in the airline, hoping the prospect of outright control could attract buyers. ($1=3.1393 Polish zlotys)

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