LOT Polish Airlines is to launch direct flights from Budapest to both New York and Chicago in May 2018.

Flights to New York will operate four times per week (Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays), while services to Chicago will operate twice-weekly (Tuesdays and Saturdays).

Both routes will be served by one of the carrier’s three-class B787 Dreamliner aircraft, which will be based at Budapest airport.

LOT said that despite there having been no direct flights between Hungary and the US since 2011, “the number of passengers travelling from Budapest to the USA has continued to grow, creating a large but so far untapped market”.

“More than 165,000 passengers travel between Budapest and New York and Chigaco every year,” said Rafał Milczarski, LOT’s CEO. “Today, they change mainly in Frankfurt, Paris, Amsterdam, and London, which makes their journey considerably longer.”

The airline said that its analysis showed that the new flights “will be used not only by residents of the Hungarian capital, but also of other Hungarian cities, eastern Austria, the Slovak Republic, western Romania, and Balkan countries”, adding that eight million inhabitants live within a two-hour drive of Budapest airport.

LOT said that the move “marks another stage of market consolidation in Central and Eastern Europe, of which LOT is becoming an undisputed leader”, while Milczarski stressed that the new routes “will supplement the offer of flights from Warsaw, however, they will not be in direct competition”.