The figures released on Friday follow a prolonged period of rapid expansion for LOT. The airline carried 4.3 million passengers in 2015, less than half of this year’s number, and has seen an increase in every year since.
The airline ran into financial difficulty a decade ago, eventually leading to a government rescue plan in 2013. Since the end of 2015 LOT has been allowed to open new routes, relying heavily on the modern Boeing-787 Dreamliner to increase capacity.
LOT has opened over 80 new routes during the past four years, with 15 of these initiated during 2019. This year new long haul destinations included Miami, Delhi, Colombo and Seoul.
LOT CEO Rafał Milczarski said: “Our aim is to become the largest airline in Central and Eastern Europe.”
The carrier plans to open a further 16 new routes in 2020, including flights between the southern Polish city of Krakow and New York in the United States.
Although LOT has traditionally been based in Polish airports, the airline now has a hub in the Hungarian capital of Budapest, and in 2020 will begin operating flights from Budapest to Stuttgart, Sofia, Belgrade, Brussels and Dubrovnik.
In November LOT revealed plans to run seven flights a week between Warsaw and Beijing as of January 2020.