Head of Plovdiv Airport resigns over unpaid state funding, staff threaten strike over unpaid salaries

The director of Plovdiv Airport, Ivan Karnabitov, has resigned because of disagreement with government policy on financing the airport and amid staff anger over unpaid salaries.

Karnabitov filed his resignation late last week after a series of talks with the Transport Ministry, Bulgarian National Radio said on February 17.

Of their January salaries, the 154 employees of the airport have been paid just 200 leva (about 100 euro). Staff were discussing going on strike, local media reports said.

Karnabitov told BNR that state funding not only had been cut by 22 per cent for 2014, but also had not been paid for several months, leaving the airport unable to pay employees’ salaries and social security contributions.

The funding cut in 2014 was 22 per cent, to two million leva. The airport is funding through state funds and its own revenues.

The state funding is intended to support functions including security, safety, maintenance of runways and terminals and electricity, among other items, Karnabitov said.

Five invoices to the state from 2014 and the one for January 2015 remained unpaid, he said.

Karnabitov, who has headed the airport for a year and a half, said that in the first two months, “things were normal” but after that an endless struggle began.

So far, the airport had managed to pay employees out of its own revenues and reserves, but this had become impossible, he said, even though the airport had managed to increase its revenue by 30 per cent in 2014 to two million leva.

Last week, the board of directors of Plovdiv Airport sent a report on the financial situation to the Transport Ministry. Karnabitov submitted his resignation on February 13.

Reports from Plovdiv said that on the morning of February 17, there were negotiations with trade unions at the airport, which also were determined to hold negotiation with the Transport Ministry.

A formal statement from the Transport Ministry was expected later in the day.

Plovdiv Airport receives revenue from municipalities in the region, on the basis of one lev an inhabitant of the municipality. However, this money is intended for advertising the airport and the region as a tourist destination, and may not be used for other purposes.

(Photo: gad222)



The Sofia Globe staff

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