Sofia Airport reports 7.8% passenger traffic increase in March 2018

Sofia Airport saw a 7.8 per cent year-on-year increase in passenger numbers in March 2018, 556 088 versus 515 857 in the third month of last year.

International traffic, which makes up the bulk of Sofia Airport flights, grew by 5.2 per cent in March, thanks to new destinations (Ljubljana, Nice and Paphos) and increased flight frequencies due to the start of the summer season on some existing routes (Athens, Doha, Lisbon, Malaga and Frankfurt.)

Domestic traffic increased by 62 per cent from about 15 000 passengers carried in March 2017 to 24 000 in March 2018, 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 March 2018 was 4781, up by 2.5 per cent, the airport said. Last year, management reported 4663 flights in the third month of 2017.

The amount of cargo handled by the airport grew by 8.5 per cent year-on-year, to 1890 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.

(Photo: Aisano)



The Sofia Globe staff

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