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LTenEleven
Topic Author
Posts: 439
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2016 8:56 pm

Sofia (SOF) - Record 50% Increase in Passenger Numbers

Sat Dec 31, 2016 12:02 pm

Sofia (SOF) is seeing a huge increase in passengers with increased Wizz Air operations (now at an advertised 7 aircraft but 6 in reality) and the new 3 aircraft Ryanair base.

Passengers for November were 462,000, a 49% year on year increase. The old Terminal 1 saw 257,000 passengers (a 2.5x increase), and the newer Terminal 2 just 175,000 passengers (a 5% decrease). Total passenger numbers for 2016 are likely to come within a whisker of 5 million, a number that no one could have imagined just a year ago.

To address overcrowding at Terminal 1, 2017 passenger charges at Terminal 2 will be decreased to Terminal 1 levels (from €11.50 to €5.50). The big immediate beneficiary of this is likely to be Air Bulgaria (a decreased competitive advantage for Terminal 1 operators), although Terminal 1 passengers will likely enjoy decreased overcrowding once one of the two based LCCs moves (unconfirmed story says Ryanair from mid-January).

In any case, Terminal 2 contacts stands are totally underused at present. There are currently at least 4 aircraft in storage (including an A319 without a tail, an A321 without engines) blocking Terminal 2 contact stands. :?

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usflyer123
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Re: Sofia (SOF) - Record 50% Increase in Passenger Numbers

Sat Dec 31, 2016 12:24 pm

Thats good to see that, but all of that LCC growth in SOF might also tell us that FB is in trouble...
for most people the sky is the limit. for those who love aviation, the sky is home...
 
LTenEleven
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Re: Sofia (SOF) - Record 50% Increase in Passenger Numbers

Mon Jan 02, 2017 8:43 am

usflyer123 wrote:
Thats good to see that, but all of that LCC growth in SOF might also tell us that FB is in trouble...


Bulgaria Air are in serious trouble. They struggled before and now have heavy competition on almost all their EU routes. From an active fleet of 9, 2 aircraft are wet leased to Fast Air (Tanzania) and the remaining each operate a return flight or 2 a day. Hardly an efficient operation. Fortunately, they are backed by TIM for the time being.
 
sofianec
Posts: 171
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Re: Sofia (SOF) - Record 50% Increase in Passenger Numbers

Mon Jan 02, 2017 10:38 am

Bulgaria Air (FB) is a basket case. They never developed into a real carrier, they charge legacy prices yet both hard and soft products are LCC/Charter grade.

Sofia will continue to be dominated by WizzAir and Ryanair as the LCCs are flying to/from places with Bulgarian diasporas. Problem stems from Terminal usage - Terminal 1 is a Cold War facility totally unprepared to take care of LCC traffic. Every time this year I've encountered huge lines at the terminal and it's just tiny, cramped and grossly outdated.

Terminal 2 seems underutilized to the point of being deserted most of the time. The entire planning around Sofia Airport is crazy.

Some of the craziness:

- Most LCC flights arrive after 8 pm which makes it extremely difficult for any passengers to continue to any places beyond Sofia. Good luck getting a bus/train to anywhere late evening/night.
- Even if somehow you managed to find transport outside of Sofia you have to commute first from the Airport to the Central Bus/Train station. Many EU airports already have Long distance bus/train options right from the Airport, Sofia doesn't.
- There is a "new" train station close to the Airport which you can allegedly connect to via the Subway line but I used that option and it was dodgy as hell. Literally walking in the darkness without any signage. Good luck.
- So once you're at the Airport after 8 pm (Sunday) there are NO rental car companies open. I arrived at 0.40 and on Ryanair and even with a car reservation the office was closed. I had to take a cab to the Central Bus/Rail station. Once there there were NO trains nor busses to the destination of mine - a big city in South Bulgaria. I was forced to wait until the first train which was at 6.05 am or first bus at 6.30 am - so almost a 5-hour of wait. It would have been doable but at the Train Station some police officers told me to f. Off cause the station is closed until 5 am or something. I mean the station is probably bigger than NY Grand Central but nope you can't wait there for your train.

All in all Bulgaria is a huge mess. SOF and FB as well.
A350WARP
 
motif1
Posts: 281
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Re: Sofia (SOF) - Record 50% Increase in Passenger Numbers

Tue Jan 03, 2017 1:28 pm

LTenEleven wrote:
Sofia (SOF) is seeing a huge increase in passengers with increased Wizz Air operations (now at an advertised 7 aircraft but 6 in reality) and the new 3 aircraft Ryanair base.

Passengers for November were 462,000, a 49% year on year increase. The old Terminal 1 saw 257,000 passengers (a 2.5x increase), and the newer Terminal 2 just 175,000 passengers (a 5% decrease). Total passenger numbers for 2016 are likely to come within a whisker of 5 million, a number that no one could have imagined just a year ago.


Thanks for the update! I was one of those in the November statistics and it took me maybe 5 minutes to go through security at Terminal 2. Loved it!

M1
Not only is this incomprehensible but the ink is ugly and the paper is from the wrong kind of tree
 
LTenEleven
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Re: Sofia (SOF) - Record 50% Increase in Passenger Numbers

Thu Jan 05, 2017 7:40 pm

It seems the passenger numbers for December were 471,849, putting the 2016 total at 4,980,387.

CAA BG rejected the Wizz Air and Bulgaria Air appeals against the revised SOF airport charges. Bulgaria Air (who stand to be the biggest beneficiaries) were appealing against the removal of the discounted domestic passenger service charge. However, landing charges for domestic flights are still heavily discount.

Air Bulgaria will move their Palma de Mallorca, Alicante, Malaga, Barcelona and Lisbon flights t from T1 to T2 from 9 January. Still no confirmation of a Ryanair move for the time being.
 
LTenEleven
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Re: Sofia (SOF) - Record 50% Increase in Passenger Numbers

Fri Jan 06, 2017 8:51 pm

Full year figures:

SOF - 4,980,387 (4,088,943) + 21.8%
BOJ - 2,878,702 (2,360,320) + 22.5%
VAR - 1,653,351 (1,398,694) + 20.8%
PDV - 60,918 (103,300) - 23%

9,573,358 (7,951,257) + 20.40%
 
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Re: Sofia (SOF) - Record 50% Increase in Passenger Numbers

Fri Jan 06, 2017 9:27 pm

In terms of number of seats at SOF in January 2017, the three biggest airlines are unsurprisingly:

Wizz: 77,400, so 24% of Sofia's seats
Ryanair: 76,167, so 23%
Bulgaria: 57,456, so 18%
"Everyone writing for the Telegraph knows that the way to grab eyeballs is with Ryanair and/or sex."
 
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lesfalls
Posts: 3532
Joined: Fri Dec 06, 2013 11:58 pm

Re: Sofia (SOF) - Record 50% Increase in Passenger Numbers

Fri Jan 06, 2017 11:01 pm

sofianec wrote:
Bulgaria Air (FB) is a basket case. They never developed into a real carrier, they charge legacy prices yet both hard and soft products are LCC/Charter grade.

Sofia will continue to be dominated by WizzAir and Ryanair as the LCCs are flying to/from places with Bulgarian diasporas. Problem stems from Terminal usage - Terminal 1 is a Cold War facility totally unprepared to take care of LCC traffic. Every time this year I've encountered huge lines at the terminal and it's just tiny, cramped and grossly outdated.

Terminal 2 seems underutilized to the point of being deserted most of the time. The entire planning around Sofia Airport is crazy.

Some of the craziness:

- Most LCC flights arrive after 8 pm which makes it extremely difficult for any passengers to continue to any places beyond Sofia. Good luck getting a bus/train to anywhere late evening/night.
- Even if somehow you managed to find transport outside of Sofia you have to commute first from the Airport to the Central Bus/Train station. Many EU airports already have Long distance bus/train options right from the Airport, Sofia doesn't.
- There is a "new" train station close to the Airport which you can allegedly connect to via the Subway line but I used that option and it was dodgy as hell. Literally walking in the darkness without any signage. Good luck.
- So once you're at the Airport after 8 pm (Sunday) there are NO rental car companies open. I arrived at 0.40 and on Ryanair and even with a car reservation the office was closed. I had to take a cab to the Central Bus/Rail station. Once there there were NO trains nor busses to the destination of mine - a big city in South Bulgaria. I was forced to wait until the first train which was at 6.05 am or first bus at 6.30 am - so almost a 5-hour of wait. It would have been doable but at the Train Station some police officers told me to f. Off cause the station is closed until 5 am or something. I mean the station is probably bigger than NY Grand Central but nope you can't wait there for your train.

All in all Bulgaria is a huge mess. SOF and FB as well.

Last time that I was at T1(around 4am) it was quite full. Passport control took 20-25 mins to process(slowest for European standards that I have ever encountered).
Lufthansa: Einfach ein bisschen besser.
 
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lesfalls
Posts: 3532
Joined: Fri Dec 06, 2013 11:58 pm

Re: Sofia (SOF) - Record 50% Increase in Passenger Numbers

Fri Jan 06, 2017 11:04 pm

LTenEleven wrote:
Sofia (SOF) is seeing a huge increase in passengers with increased Wizz Air operations (now at an advertised 7 aircraft but 6 in reality) and the new 3 aircraft Ryanair base.

Passengers for November were 462,000, a 49% year on year increase. The old Terminal 1 saw 257,000 passengers (a 2.5x increase), and the newer Terminal 2 just 175,000 passengers (a 5% decrease). Total passenger numbers for 2016 are likely to come within a whisker of 5 million, a number that no one could have imagined just a year ago.

To address overcrowding at Terminal 1, 2017 passenger charges at Terminal 2 will be decreased to Terminal 1 levels (from €11.50 to €5.50). The big immediate beneficiary of this is likely to be Air Bulgaria (a decreased competitive advantage for Terminal 1 operators), although Terminal 1 passengers will likely enjoy decreased overcrowding once one of the two based LCCs moves (unconfirmed story says Ryanair from mid-January).

In any case, Terminal 2 contacts stands are totally underused at present. There are currently at least 4 aircraft in storage (including an A319 without a tail, an A321 without engines) blocking Terminal 2 contact stands. :?

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Here is another pic of the Air Afriqiyah A319 sitting at SOF:

https://instagram.com/p/BM2RQw0gx-o/
Lufthansa: Einfach ein bisschen besser.
 
LTenEleven
Topic Author
Posts: 439
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2016 8:56 pm

Re: Sofia (SOF) - Record 50% Increase in Passenger Numbers

Sun Jan 15, 2017 8:20 am

Ryanair will move to Terminal 2 from Monday 16 January.

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