Poland's LOT airline breathes sigh of relief as EU official suggests state aid to be approved

Poland's LOT airline is breathing a sigh of relief after the European Union's competition chief said he expects state aid to the company will be approved soon, reducing the risk of bankruptcy.

Joaquin Almunia said Wednesday in Brussels he could "anticipate" that LOT's request for approval of its state aid will receive "a positive decision" within weeks.

Approval will mean the carrier will not have to return some 400 million zlotys (100 million euros) it received in 2012 in government aid that is helping keep it afloat. The airline is restructuring its operations and aims to make a profit in 2014 for the first time in years.

LOT President Sebastian Mikosz hailed Almunia's comments as a positive signal for the airline, which was founded in 1929.