JU101 From Canada, joined Mar 2001, 832 posts, RR: 4 Reply 4, posted (9 years 2 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 3078 times:
Thanks for the information gentlemen! I noticed that more than half of the Balkan Holidays flights actually goes to Britain. Its good to see that people are discovering new places for vacationing, especially since Bulgaria was never really considered a tourist destination by westerners until only recently.
The Bulgarian airline market is thoroughly confusing. From what I understand, Bulgaria now has four functioning airlines: Bulgaria Air, Balkan Holidays, Bulgarian Air Charter, and Hemus Air. From a bit of research, I managed to compile a list of aircraft from each respective company:
This company operates four Boeing 737-300s leased from Lufthansa. The aircraft registrations are as follows: LZ-BOG, LZ-BOH, LZ-BOI, and LZ-BOJ. This airline mainly flies between Sofia and the corresponding major European cities, as Balkan Bulgarian Airlines once did.
This company leases three Airbus 320s (LZ-BHA, LZ-BHB, LZ-BHC) and operates four Tupolev 154s (LZ-HMI, LZ-HMN, LZ-HMQ, LZ-HMW). This airline is mainly involved in the holiday market. What do they do during the winter? Charters? Do they own the Tupolevs?
BULGARIAN AIR CHARTER
This company apparently operates six Tupolev 154s. Recent activity shows that they fly four (LZ-LCA, LZ-LCT, LZ-LCX, LZ-LCV). This year, no activity was recorderded from any spotters on this website for the following two aircraft (LZ-LCI and LZ-LCS). I am not sure of their market segment, other than operating charter flights to western Europe. In addition to this, I do not know weather they own their aircraft, or they are leased.
This company operates three different aircraft types: four Yakolev 40s (LZ-DOE, LZ-DOF, LZ-DOM, LZ-DOS), three Tupolev 134s (LZ-TUH, LZ-TUP, LZ-TUT), and three Tupolev 154s (LZ-HMF, LZ-HMS, LZ-MHY). They have some sort of connection with Balkan Holidays, though I do not know what it is. Does Hemus Air own all these aircraft? Where do they fly? Scheduled or chartered service?
Sovietjet From Bulgaria, joined Mar 2003, 2339 posts, RR: 14 Reply 6, posted (9 years 2 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 3028 times:
Your information about Hemus Air is a bit wrong. They have 7 Yak-40s. LZ-DOB, -DOC, -DOE, -DOF, -DOM, -DOR, -DOS. LZ-DOB is leased to Albanian Airlines. They have 3 Tu-134s but until recently had 6. LZ-TUL, -TUN, and -TUP are wfo. LZ-TUH and LZ-TUT are still flying. LZ-TUJ is leased to Albanian Airlines.
Balkan Holidays and B.A.C. do ski charters during the winter to Plovdiv and Sofia. Although not as much business...the Tu-154s undergo maintenance during the winter. BAC leases their Tu-154s from VARZ400. Look on a.net for Tu-154s operated by an airline called "Airlines 400" and you'll see their color scheme. Balkan Holidays is part of Hemus Air. LZ-HMI, -HMQ, -HMW, and -HMY are ex-Balkan so they are now owned by Hemus/Holidays. I'm not sure about -HMS, -HMN, -HMF. Also they just acquired ex-Balkan LZ-BTH.
VS11 From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 978 posts, RR: 0 Reply 7, posted (9 years 2 weeks 1 day ago) and read 3003 times:
BulgariaAir will be operating 4 additional B733, leased from GE.
The summer trafic at VAR seems to be very interesting. Check out and do a search for any summer weekend day for international flights, it is unbelievable the variety of airlines that will be going to my hometown!
My parents' apartment was/is on the approach to rwy 27 so it was an enormoush fun to watch planes fly by every 5 mins or so during the time when they were coming back from Western Europe. Needless to say they were mostly Tu-154.
JU101 From Canada, joined Mar 2001, 832 posts, RR: 4 Reply 10, posted (9 years 2 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 2924 times:
It is good to see that relative stability now exists in the Bulgarian air transport industry, since the uneventful collapse of Balkan Bulgarian Airlines. One thing that surprises me is the fact that Hemus Air is operating three very different aircraft types; soon to be four. Is this really feasible? Does anyone also have good photos of the airport terminal at Bourgas, Plovdiv, and Varna?
VS11 - I do not fancy the idea of Bulgaria Air doubling its capacity in such a short period of time. Such expansions usually result in great inefficiencies. Out of all the Bulgarian airlines, I think that Bulgaria Air and Balkan Holidays are probably the ones that will truely take a dominant position in this market.
On final note, it would be good to see greater cooperation between the different airlines in this region. Jat Airways began with this initiative about 2-3 years ago, and almost all the Balkan companies were in attendance at the Belgrade conferences. I think some serious cooperation could exist amongst companies such as Bulgaria Air, Tarom, JAT, and MAT - as they are Boeing 737 operators.
VS11 From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 978 posts, RR: 0 Reply 12, posted (9 years 2 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 2876 times:
Sorry, the website I meant is www.varna-airport.bg but for some reason the link did not come off. The site is very basic but if you search the flights it will spit out so many flights that I am wondering whether the airport will be able to handle them, it is not a big airport.
JU101 - the new B737 are mostly for charters I assume since there are not too many new scheduled services for BulgariaAir.
Regarding pix from the airports in Bulgaria, you can search the photo db for the country, and lots of cool pix will come out.
If there was a united airline of the Balkan countries, it would have been fit to call it Balkan Airlines But this will never happen as they will not agree on base and what not.
Sovietjet From Bulgaria, joined Mar 2003, 2339 posts, RR: 14 Reply 13, posted (9 years 2 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 2869 times:
BAC has operated 12 different Tu-154s leasing them for periods of time and the number of Tu-154s operated by them at any given time is hard to know.
The following registrations have been used by BAC on their Tu-154s. LZ-LCA, -LCB, -LCC, -LCD, -LCE, -LCI, -LCK, -LCO, -LCS, -LCT, -LCV, -LCX. Also BAC is getting MD-80s for the summer.
Hemus will probably replace Tu-134s with Bae-146. If not then the Tu-134s won't fly that much anyway.
JU101 From Canada, joined Mar 2001, 832 posts, RR: 4 Reply 14, posted (9 years 1 week 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 2837 times:
Perhaps Bulgaria Air is interested in tapping in to the Bulgarian charter market, and forcing more competition with fuel efficient aircraft, such as the Boeing 737-300. I think the ideal case would be for Bulgaria to have 2 or 3 well established airlines that would compete amongst each other. At the same time, it may be important for the government to establish a commission that ensures fair competition, and resists price-fixing in the industry.
In the case of Serbia and Montenegro, there are two airlines that are intensifying their competitivness. Montenegro Airlines now operates scheduled international flights out of Serbia, and is definately breaking the long-lived JAT monopoly. JAT also operates international flights out of Montenegro. Competition on domestic flights between Belgrade, Podgorica, and Tivat have seen their one-way prices fall to 24 EUR.
I doubt that a multinational airline can be made to ecompass most of the Balkan nations. It would probably be difficult to agree on certain administrative and technical issues; while the issue of bases should not be difficult. I would think that more direct-international flights would benefit everyone. What I would rather envision is an "alliance" amongst airlines that I mentioned previously. Companies would be better able to exploit certain markets and use resources more efficiently. Furthermore, negotiating on joint orders of newer aircraft could bring savings, as a larger volume of aircraft would be ordered at once. JAT and MAT are obviously very tight. Perhaps Tarom or Bulgaria Air should join in the action. Anyways, its just and idea.