Poland's ailing LOT airline to axe 500 jobs: report

Poland's cash-strapped LOT national airline will axe 500 jobs, or a quarter of its total workforce, Rafal Baniak, deputy finance minister, said on Thursday.

"We expect the mass layoff process to affect about 500 people," the PAP news agency quoted Baniak as saying, without specifying when the cuts will take place.

Baniak said another 130 staff had agreed to be part of a voluntary redundancy programme in January.

The state holds a 67.97 percent stake in the airline which employed 2,063 people at the end of 2012.

The company wound down the year with operating losses of 115 million zloty (28 million euros, $36.4 million), instead of a forecast profit of 52.5 million zloty.

In December, LOT received the first 400 million zloty tranche of an overall billion-zloty rescue package prompting the European Union to check whether Warsaw broke subsidy rules by throwing its flagship carrier the lifeline.

LOT said last week it would keep its two Boeing 787 Dreamliners grounded until October.

The airline became the first in Europe to use the Dreamliner in November.

It ordered a total eight 787s to update its fleet of 35 planes.

On January 16, the 50 Dreamliners in service around the world were grounded after a battery fire on a parked Japan Airlines (JAL) plane and battery smoke on an All Nippon Airways flight forced an emergency landing.