Bulgaria’s government allocated 55 million leva, or about 28.1 million euro, for the 28th Air Detachment, in charge of flying Bulgaria’s state and government officials, to be used on the acquisition of a new government jet and construction of a new hangar for maintenance and storage operations.
The government media service said that the Cabinet approved the report by the Transport Ministry regarding the search for a new aircraft to carry out special purpose flights. Earlier this month, the Cabinet mandated the 28th Air Detachment, which is part of the Transport Ministry, to hold talks on a possible acquisition.
The statement did not specify which business jet manufacturer were contacted or what model of aircraft would be purchased, but the funds allocated would be sufficient to purchase a business jet in the large-cabin segment, although not the more expensive long-range versions currently in production.
Bulgaria’s 28th Air Detachment operates an Airbus 319 and a Dassault Falcon 2000 business jet. According to reports in Bulgarian media, it is the latter that is slated for replacement after experiencing a string of issues in recent years, including an incident last month when it had to make a manual landing after its navigation system failed.
That incident happened with Prime Minister Boiko Borissov onboard, during approach to Sofia Airport on a flight from Thessaloniki.
Dassault has several variations of the Falcon 2000 model in production. The French company is the only business jet manufacturer in Europe with a large-cabin jet on offer – competing against Brasil’s Embraer, Canada’s Bombardier and US firms Gulfstream and Textron in that segment.
The acquisition of a newer Falcon 2000 would carry an advantage in that it would require minimal pilot training costs, compared to switching to another model.
(Dassault Falcon 2000 jet currently in use by 28th Air Detachment)