LOT Polish Airlines (LO, Warsaw Chopin) has signed a lease contract with Azorra Aviation to add three new-built E195-E2s, its first regional jets of the new generation.

The Polish flag carrier said the aircraft were scheduled to deliver in July, August, and September 2024. It will configure the aircraft for up to 136 passengers in a single-class layout. The aircraft are intended for growth.

The initial lease commitment kickstarts the airline's long-awaited regional fleet renewal. LOT, a longstanding Embraer customer and the launch operator of the E-Jet Family with the first E170 in 2004, has been touting a new order in this segment since before the pandemic. While the plans were delayed by Covid, Poland's Ministry of State Assets recently said that an RFP for 84 new regional aircraft for replacement and growth was imminent. The carrier is considering both E2s and A220s for the renewal.

Speaking at a business conference in Katowice, CEO Michał Fijoł said that the decision to increase the regional fleet was partially driven by recently unveiled government plans to expand Warsaw Chopin airport. State-owned operator Polish Airports is planning to extend the terminal and the airside infrastructure at the increasingly congested hub over the coming years. The government plans to eventually transfer traffic from the current airport to the newly built Central Transportation Hub (CPK), although progress on this project has slowed following last year's change in government.

LOT has been vocal about the need for a new airport as current environmental and infrastructure restrictions at Warsaw Chopin already hinder its ability to add more flights in connecting banks.

Fijoł said that the addition of E2s would also bring benefits to LOT's sister company, maintenance provider LOT AMS, as it will expand its capabilities to Pratt & Whitney PW1900G engines.

LOT's current regional fleet comprises five E170s, fifteen E175s (including two operated exclusively for the government), eight E190s, and fifteen E195s. The ch-aviation fleets ownership module shows that Azorra Aviation currently owns nine E195-E2s, including five leased to Porter Airlines Canada and two each to Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras and Royal Jordanian.

The airline is fully state-owned, including a 69.3% stake held directly by the state and a 30.7% stake held by state-owned Polish Aviation Group - PGL.