Sofia Airport saw a 3.7 per cent year-on-year increase in passenger numbers in February 2018, 473 242 versus 456 212 in the second month of last year – despite a decrease in the number of flights operated by the airport.
International traffic, makes up the bulk of Sofia Airport flights, grew by 1.3 per cent in February, while domestic traffic increased by 83 per cent from about 10 000 passengers carried to just under 18 000, the airport said.
The reason for the sharp increase in domestic numbers was due to the fact that a second airline began operating Sofia-Varna flights in March 2017, Sofia Airport said. Although the airport’s management did not name the airline, low-cost carrier Wizz Air resumed flights on the route last year.
The number of total flights operated by the airport in February 2018 was 4122, the airport said. Last year, management reported 4184 flights in the second month of 2017.
The amount of cargo handled by the airport grew by five per cent year-on-year, to 1568 tonnes.
Bulgaria’s government, under the previous administration of Prime Minister Boiko Borissov, called an international tender to pick a concession operator for Sofia Airport in mid-2016, after several delays, and repeatedly extended the bidding deadline.
The tender was cancelled in April 2017 by the Ognyan Gerdjikov caretaker cabinet, claiming that an expert analysis concluded that the concession terms were not “in the state’s interest.” Since Borissov returned to government for a third term after last year’s snap elections, his cabinet is yet to call a new concession tender.