• A LOT airliner waits for its flight at Warsaw Chopin Airport, Poland's international airport.

A LOT airliner waits for its flight at Warsaw Chopin Airport, Poland's international airport. (Photo : Getty Images)

Representatives of the Polish government are currently holding talks with Chinese investors for the possible sale of some stake in the state airline LOT, Deputy Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced on Wednesday, Aug. 3.

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Reuters reported that the since Poland's conservative government came to power last year, it has been aiming to strengthen its relations with China. In June, during President Xi Jinping's visit to Warsaw, the two countries vowed to work for deeper cooperation.

"LOT is our national carrier, which we are trying to save no matter the cost. It is deeply in debt," the state news agency PAP quoted Morawiecki as saying.

As one of the world's oldest airlines, LOT has been challenged for years by rivals such as Ryanair and other big competitors. In 2012, the government saved the state-owned airline from bankruptcy with an aid of more than 500 million zlotys ($130 million).

"The previous government has already granted public support for LOT, we cannot grant another and we are looking for an investor," Morawiecki said.

"According to EU law a carrier from outside the EU cannot take over more than 49 percent of a carrier from the EU, hence we are in talks with potential investors, among others, from China," the deputy prime minister added.

A Polish newspaper reported on Wednesday, Aug. 3, that Chinese carrier Air China is planning to buy a 49-percent stake in LOT as representatives of the Chinese firm are scheduled to arrive in Warsaw in the following days.

But a LOT spokesman denied any knowledge of the plans of a capital tie-up between Air China and LOT. Air China was also not available for comment.

"I have no knowledge regarding any planned capital co-operation between LOT and Air China," Adrian Kubicki, LOT spokesman said. "We have commercial co-operation with Air China, which we want to develop, regarding the Warsaw-Beijing route."

In April, the Supreme Audit Office in Poland said that LOT has a very small chance of surviving even with aid and improvement if would not have an outside investor to help it.

LOT is a small carrier whose fleet is made up of only eight aircraft including the two new 787 Dreamliners that will start operating next year. It makes an average of 200 flights daily and transports about 5 million passengers annually.

As part of its One Belt, One Road initiative, China has increased its investments in central and eastern Europe in an effort to strengthen the ties between Europe and China.

Last year, CEFC, a Chinese private company, bought a stake in Czech airline firm Travel Service, the second-largest shareholder in Czech Airlines.

According to Deputy economic minister Radoslaw Domagalski, Poland will now accept Chinese investment in infrastructure, energy and other sectors.