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teahan
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Ryanair Sofia (SOF) Base - 3 Aircraft & 21 Routes

Wed Mar 30, 2016 2:50 pm

Ryanair have announced base number 83 in Sofia, Bulgaria with 3 based aircraft and 21 routes:

Athens, Barcelona, Baden, Berlin, Birmingham, Brussels Charleroi, Castellon Valencia, Cologne, Dublin, Eindhoven, Glasgow, Hamburg, Liverpool, London Stansted, Madrid, Memmingen, Milan Malpensa, Pisa, Rome Ciampino, Stockholm & Venice

http://corporate.ryanair.com/news/ne...ofia-base-to-open-no-83/?market=en

Some of the previously announced routes will continue to be operated by non-SOF based aircraft: Brussels Charleroi, Berlin, Dublin and London (capacity equivalent of about 1.5 aircraft).

Meanwhile, Wizz Air will upgrade 2 of its 6 (in winter 5) based A320s to A321s from February 2016.
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peterinlisbon
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RE: Ryanair Sofia (SOF) Base - 3 Aircraft & 21 Routes

Wed Mar 30, 2016 2:59 pm

I wonder why Ryanair doesn't fly to Turkey. They seem to deliberately avoid the country for some reason. Surely Istanbul is a huge market that's worth getting a piece of.
 
teahan
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RE: Ryanair Sofia (SOF) Base - 3 Aircraft & 21 Routes

Wed Mar 30, 2016 3:02 pm

Quoting peterinlisbon (Reply 1):
I wonder why Ryanair doesn't fly to Turkey. They seem to deliberately avoid the country for some reason. Surely Istanbul is a huge market that's worth getting a piece of.

Traffic rights.
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SCQ83
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RE: Ryanair Sofia (SOF) Base - 3 Aircraft & 21 Routes

Wed Mar 30, 2016 3:06 pm

That is gonna be a bloodbath and cheap cheap fares... maybe Sofia will be the next stag party destination in Europe?

Ryanair and Wizzair will compete in Barcelona, Milan (BGY for Wizz and MXP for FR), Brussels CRL, Cologne, Eindhoven, London (LTN for Wizz and STN for FR), Madrid, Memmingen, Rome (CIA for FR and FCO for W6) and Valencia (CDT for FR and VLC for W6).

Btw, this is Castellon's fourth route after Bristol, Bucharest and London.
 
SCQ83
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RE: Ryanair Sofia (SOF) Base - 3 Aircraft & 21 Routes

Wed Mar 30, 2016 3:17 pm

Quoting teahan (Reply 2):
Traffic rights.

I am more curious about the Balkans. Serbia, Bosnia and Macedonia. Do those countries have open skies with the EU? I think Sarajevo and Belgrade would make great Ryanair destinations.
 
teahan
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RE: Ryanair Sofia (SOF) Base - 3 Aircraft & 21 Routes

Wed Mar 30, 2016 3:17 pm

And it's a massive new challenge for Bulgaria Air, as if competing with with Wizz Air wasn't bad enough.

[Edited 2016-03-30 08:17:54]
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avi8
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RE: Ryanair Sofia (SOF) Base - 3 Aircraft & 21 Routes

Wed Mar 30, 2016 3:24 pm

Now we know where 3 of the 93493209 aircraft Ryanair is receiving this year are going 
avi8
 
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OA260
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RE: Ryanair Sofia (SOF) Base - 3 Aircraft & 21 Routes

Wed Mar 30, 2016 3:30 pm

Quoting SCQ83 (Reply 3):
maybe Sofia will be the next stag party destination in Europe?

Could be the beach resorts already attract a ''crowd'  http://youtu.be/W7zvPg3cTok
 
SCQ83
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RE: Ryanair Sofia (SOF) Base - 3 Aircraft & 21 Routes

Wed Mar 30, 2016 3:36 pm

Quoting OA260 (Reply 7):
Could be the beach resorts already attract a ''crowd' http://youtu.be/W7zvPg3cTok

Well thanks for reminding me why I wouldn't live in the UK or IE. In any case, SOF is quite far from Varna or Burgas. And I reckon stag partiers just need cheap flights and cheap alcohol.

In any case, now that you mention it, it is interesting that Ryanair does not serve any of those two coastal airports.
 
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OA260
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RE: Ryanair Sofia (SOF) Base - 3 Aircraft & 21 Routes

Wed Mar 30, 2016 4:09 pm

Quoting SCQ83 (Reply 8):
In any case, SOF is quite far from Varna or Burgas.

Indeed 380-440KM ( Approx ) they could do a two centre  
 
teahan
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RE: Ryanair Sofia (SOF) Base - 3 Aircraft & 21 Routes

Wed Mar 30, 2016 4:44 pm

Quoting SCQ83 (Reply 8):
SOF is quite far from Varna or Burgas.

Not only is it quite far but the cities are also poorly linked. You have a choice between 6.5 hours on a bus (numerous daily buses), 7-10 hours on a train (3 daily trains) or an expensive but quick flight (1-3 daily flights).

W6 tried a 4x weekly SOF-VAR in summer 2009 but it did not last long. I imagine FR might have a better shot, especially if the flight was daily and well timed.

VAR-London is another market in desperate need of a little competition. It's a long sector but W6 fares VAR-LTN are very high all year, and regardless of how early you book.
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OA260
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RE: Ryanair Sofia (SOF) Base - 3 Aircraft & 21 Routes

Wed Mar 30, 2016 4:52 pm

Quoting teahan (Reply 10):
Not only is it quite far but the cities are also poorly linked

Although FB do operate between 2-4 flights a day SOF-VAR . 50 mins flight. Also they fly SOF-BOJ. The FB985 often does VAR-BOJ which must be one of the shortest E90 flights at 20 mins and EUR32 .
 
JAmie2k9
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RE: Ryanair Sofia (SOF) Base - 3 Aircraft & 21 Routes

Wed Mar 30, 2016 4:54 pm

Quoting SCQ83 (Reply 3):

Lots of the routes are for very different reasons, both will do just fine as demand will be there.
 
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Aeroflot777
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RE: Ryanair Sofia (SOF) Base - 3 Aircraft & 21 Routes

Wed Mar 30, 2016 7:23 pm

Quoting OA260 (Reply 7):
Could be the beach resorts already attract a ''crowd'


 Wow!
 
teahan
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RE: Ryanair Sofia (SOF) Base - 3 Aircraft & 21 Routes

Wed Mar 30, 2016 7:32 pm

Quoting OA260 (Reply 11):
Although FB do operate between 2-4 flights a day SOF-VAR . 50 mins flight. Also they fly SOF-BOJ. The FB985 often does VAR-BOJ which must be one of the shortest E90 flights at 20 mins and EUR32 .

This is what it looks like this summer:
MON - 3
TUE - 2
WED - 3
THU - 2
FRI - 3 (1 via BOJ)
SAT - 1
SUN - 2 (1 via BOJ)
Almost all are Embraer 190 operated but equipment sometimes changes at the last minute.

Next winter:
MON - 2
TUE - 2
WED - 2
THU - 2
FRI - 2
SAT - 1
SUN - 1
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OA260
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RE: Ryanair Sofia (SOF) Base - 3 Aircraft & 21 Routes

Wed Mar 30, 2016 7:40 pm

Quoting teahan (Reply 14):
This is what it looks like this summer:

Yeah I was looking at the schedules earlier. Better served than I thought and also fares were around EUR45 which is not bad compared to similar distances around Europe.
 
OO-VEG
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RE: Ryanair Sofia (SOF) Base - 3 Aircraft & 21 Routes

Wed Mar 30, 2016 8:11 pm

The times when Ryanair and Wizzair stayed out of each others way is definately over. I am curious to see how Wizzair will hold-up against Ryanair.

I hope Bulgaria Air is able to keep up with this competition as I quite like their flights and when you add everything up, they are not that much more expensive than Wizzair is. And they serve T2 in Sofia, which is so much better than T1
 
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eurowings
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RE: Ryanair Sofia (SOF) Base - 3 Aircraft & 21 Routes

Wed Mar 30, 2016 8:12 pm

Quoting SCQ83 (Reply 8):
Well thanks for reminding me why I wouldn't live in the UK or IE. In any case, SOF is quite far from Varna or Burgas. And I reckon stag partiers just need cheap flights and cheap alcohol.

The Bulgarian coastal resorts are also popular with Belgian/Dutch/German/Scandinavian revellers, and overall far more popular with German holidaymakers than British. In any case SOF is a strong VFR and migrant worker destination from the UK/Ireland.
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teahan
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RE: Ryanair Sofia (SOF) Base - 3 Aircraft & 21 Routes

Wed Mar 30, 2016 8:30 pm

I had a quick look at Bulgaria Air’s (FB) winter 2016 schedule. I presently count 106 weekly flights from SOF. Most are Embraer 190 operated, with some Airbus A319 and A320 too. This compares to FR’s 89 weekly flights. FB will face new direct/indirect FR competition on about half their services.

Destination / Weekly flights
AGP 2
AMS 7
ATH 6 - new daily FR service
BCN 2 - new 3 weekly FR service
BRU 7 - new 4 weekly FR service to CRL
CDG 7
DUS 4 - new daily FR service to CGN (1 hour by RE train)
FCO 10 - new daily FR service to CIA
FRA 5
LCA 3
LHR 5 - new twice daily FR service to STN
MAD 5 - new 4 weekly FR service
MXP 4 - new daily FR service
PMI 1
PRG 3
SVO 4
TLV 2
TXL 7 - new daily FR service to SXP
VAR 12
VIE 5
ZRH 4

This is not to mention the competition by Wizz Air, which could be the subject of another post.
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teahan
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RE: Ryanair Sofia (SOF) Base - 3 Aircraft & 21 Routes

Wed Mar 30, 2016 8:33 pm

Quoting OO-VEG (Reply 16):

I hope Bulgaria Air is able to keep up with this competition as I quite like their flights and when you add everything up, they are not that much more expensive than Wizzair is. And they serve T2 in Sofia, which is so much better than T1

Bulgaria Air have actually started operating some flights from T1 as a cost saving measure:
PMI
ALC
AGP
BCN
LIS
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BestWestern
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RE: Ryanair Sofia (SOF) Base - 3 Aircraft & 21 Routes

Thu Mar 31, 2016 12:25 am

Is the winter fog in Sofia still a problem? My last Sofia trip ended up being diverted into Plovdiv on the inbound and returning from Thessaloniki on the next leg.

Beware the taxi mafia outside of T2 - those guys know how to fleece you blind. Sofia had an 'edge' to it that isn't usually felt in a European city. The driver that was assigned to me by the local client carried a gun for example.
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r2rho
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RE: Ryanair Sofia (SOF) Base - 3 Aircraft & 21 Routes

Thu Mar 31, 2016 12:39 pm

Quoting SCQ83 (Reply 3):
That is gonna be a bloodbath and cheap cheap fares...

Ryanair and Wizzair will compete

This is the most significant development. Up to now, FR and W6 mostly avoided each other. With few exceptions, FR stayed in Western EU, W6 stayed in Eastern EU. Now FR is entering head on competition on W6's turf.

This is actually well in line with the New Ryanair's new strategy in Western Europe - where they have entered several main airports, but not to offer new destinations, but to match other carriers' routes one by one (sometimes, even the schedules), dump prices, and kick them out.

Quoting teahan (Thread starter):
Castellon Valencia

Wow, the former ghost airport is gradually picking up!

Quoting BestWestern (Reply 20):
Beware the taxi mafia outside of T2 - those guys know how to fleece you blind

I recommend to ride with OK Supertrans. They are reliable.
 
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lesfalls
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RE: Ryanair Sofia (SOF) Base - 3 Aircraft & 21 Routes

Thu Mar 31, 2016 12:59 pm

Quoting teahan (Reply 18):

How about Bulgaria Air charter? Will any of their flights be affected by FR?

http://www.bgaircharter.com/index.php?page=23

[Edited 2016-03-31 06:18:26]
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teahan
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RE: Ryanair Sofia (SOF) Base - 3 Aircraft & 21 Routes

Thu Mar 31, 2016 1:16 pm

I had a look at the upcoming W6 winter schedule. From SOF, the airline is presently planning 96 weekly flights to 30 destinations (+ 5 weekly VAR-LTN).

W6 will see new direct competition from FR on about half of their weekly flights:

From SOF:
ALC 1
BCN 3 - new FR 3x weekly service
BGY 7 - new FR daily service to MXP / to be A321 route
BHX 2 - new FR 3x weekly service to BHX / to be A321 route
BLQ 3 / to be A321 route
BRI 2
BRS 2 / to be A321 route
BUD 3
BVA 3
CGN 2 - new FR daily service / to be A321 route
CPH 2
CRL 4 - new FR 4x weekly
DTM 7
DWC 2
EIN 4 - new FR 3x weekly service
FCO 3 - new FR daily service to CIA / to be A321 route
FMM 2 - new FR 2x weekly service / to be A321 route
GVA 2
HHN 3 / to be A321 route
KUT 2
LBC/HAM 2 - new FR 3x weekly service
LCA 2
LTN 18 - new FR 2x daily service to STN / to be A321 route (4x weekly)
MAD 2 - new FR 4x weekly service
MLA 3
MMX 2 / to be A321 route
NAP 2 / to be A321 route
TLV 2
TRF 2
VLC 2 - new FR 2x weekly service to CDT

The A321s are from February 2017.

In summary:
Bulgaria Air: 106 weekly flights with 108 seat Embraer 190s, some 134/140 seat A319s and 180 seat A320s
Wizz Air: 96 weekly flights with 180 seat A320s / some 230 seat A321s from next year
Ryanair: 89 weekly flights with 189 seat Boeing 737-800s

It will be interesting to see how things shape up for summer 2017.
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motif1
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RE: Ryanair Sofia (SOF) Base - 3 Aircraft & 21 Routes

Thu Mar 31, 2016 3:21 pm

For once I am not happy with more competition coming to Sofia. FR's move might lead to more legacies leaving and traveling to SOF from other continents will become a chore. I don't want to have to travel to an EU hub from the US with, e.g. BA, AF or LH and then having to switch to FR or W6. Also poor FB ... I hope they manage to survive! They provide better service than W6 for about the same price.

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teahan
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RE: Ryanair Sofia (SOF) Base - 3 Aircraft & 21 Routes

Mon Apr 04, 2016 9:52 am

One interesting fact is that where there will FR/W6 competition and the flights are less than daily, these will always operate on different days. This is not very usual for FR and could be a condition in the deal they negotiated with SOF airport:

Destination: Ryanair // Wizz Air

BCN: TUE THU SAT // WED FRI
BHX: TUE THU SAT // MON FRI
CDT (VLC for Wizz): MON FRI // TUE SAT
CRL: MON WED FRI SUN // THU THU SAT
EIN: TUE THU SAT / MON WED FRI SUN
FMM: MON FRI // WED SUN
MAD: MON WED FRI SUN // TUE THU SAT
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OO-VEG
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RE: Ryanair Sofia (SOF) Base - 3 Aircraft & 21 Routes

Mon Apr 04, 2016 12:53 pm

Quoting motif1 (Reply 24):

For once I am not happy with more competition coming to Sofia. FR's move might lead to more legacies leaving and traveling to SOF from other continents will become a chore. I don't want to have to travel to an EU hub from the US with, e.g. BA, AF or LH and then having to switch to FR or W6. Also poor FB ... I hope they manage to survive! They provide better service than W6 for about the same price.

I wonder how Terminal 1 will be able to handle this volume. T2 is a very quiet place, whilst Wizzair announces to come earlier to the airport due to the overcrowded situation. Extra FR aircraft will not help the situation.
 
teahan
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RE: Ryanair Sofia (SOF) Base - 3 Aircraft & 21 Routes

Mon Apr 04, 2016 4:52 pm

Quoting OO-VEG (Reply 26):
I wonder how Terminal 1 will be able to handle this volume. T2 is a very quiet place, whilst Wizzair announces to come earlier to the airport due to the overcrowded situation. Extra FR aircraft will not help the situation.

It's still not confirmed if FR will use T1 or T2 for the based aircraft (it apparently came up as a question at the press conference). Although there were strong rumours about T2, the morning departures all being after 07:00 sure seems to be a sign of a T1 base. Most Wizz flights will have left before 06:40.

SOF T1 is a truly inadequate. It makes even HHN look like a first class facility.
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eco
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RE: Ryanair Sofia (SOF) Base - 3 Aircraft & 21 Routes

Tue Apr 05, 2016 2:37 pm

Quoting OA260 (Reply 9):
In any case, now that you mention it, it is interesting that Ryanair does not serve any of those two coastal airports.

Last week on their press conference FR said that Fraport (VAR & BOJ airports) taxes are too expensive, so I doubt that we will see FR flights to those two coastal airports.

Quoting r2rho (Reply 21):
s the winter fog in Sofia still a problem? My last Sofia trip ended up being diverted into Plovdiv on the inbound and returning from Thessaloniki on the next leg.
No its not a problem any more SOF has CAT III.

Beware the taxi mafia outside of T2 - those guys know how to fleece you blind. Sofia had an 'edge' to it that isn't usually felt in a European city. The driver that was assigned to me by the local client carried a gun for example.

There is metro/subway to T2 and free shuttle between T1 & T2 at SOF.

Quoting teahan (Reply 23):
How about Bulgaria Air charter? Will any of their flights be affected by FR?

I dont think that BAC will be affected.
 
SCQ83
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RE: Ryanair Sofia (SOF) Base - 3 Aircraft & 21 Routes

Tue Apr 05, 2016 4:46 pm

Quoting eco (Reply 28):
Last week on their press conference FR said that Fraport (VAR & BOJ airports) taxes are too expensive, so I doubt that we will see FR flights to those two coastal airports.

Umm that is the typical Ryanair fashion to tell that they are interested to operate in airport X or Y but they would do it only with a tax break or some money involved. So I wouldn't discount it.
 
teahan
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RE: Ryanair Sofia (SOF) Base - 3 Aircraft & 21 Routes

Tue Apr 05, 2016 7:03 pm

Quoting eco (Reply 28):
There is metro/subway to T2 and free shuttle between T1 & T2 at SOF.

It only runs every 30 minutes and after 19:00, it's even just on request. I certainly wouldn't consider arriving at T1 + terminal shuttle bus + metro as an effective way into the city.

Quoting SCQ83 (Reply 29):
Umm that is the typical Ryanair fashion to tell that they are interested to operate in airport X or Y but they would do it only with a tax break or some money involved. So I wouldn't discount it.

Yes, exactly. Wizz Air could do with a bit of competition to LTN-VAR and a new entrant SOF-VAR would be good to see.

SOF-VAR passengers numbers have been decreasing in 2014 and 2015, despite no tangible improvement in road or rail connections (none is planned in the near to medium term either). From a peak of about 150,000 in 2009 when W6 was on the route, present figures are around 125,000.

For those who don't have the background, Varna and Burgas airports are operated by Fraport Twin Star, a joint venture between Fraport and Chimimport ("Tim"). The latter also happens to own Bulgaria Air (and a bunch of other transport and non transport companies in Bulgaria) so it may not be in their direct interest to offer too many good deals to possible competitors in VAR.

One of the Tim/Chimimport companies is apparently also a leading contender for the Sofia and Plovdiv airport concessions  . That would be convenient for some parties including Bulgaria Air, which is said to have a massive outstanding airport and passenger charges bill.

--

For anyone who's interested, the airport charges can be found here:
SOF: http://www.sofia-airport.bg/sites/de...files/sofia_airport_charges_en.pdf
VAR: VAR_BOJ.pdf" target="_blank">http://fraport-bulgaria.com/Portals/0/AirportCharges_VAR_BOJ.pdf

They are quite comparable but of course it depends what an airline manages to negotiate, especially for based aircraft and new routes. Where VAR gets a bit ridiculous is with a 25% landing fee increase for landing between 22:00-06:00 Monday-Friday and all day on Saturdays, Sundays and on official holidays.
 
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motif1
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RE: Ryanair Sofia (SOF) Base - 3 Aircraft & 21 Routes

Wed Apr 06, 2016 3:28 pm

Quoting teahan (Reply 30):
That would be convenient for some parties including Bulgaria Air, which is said to have a massive outstanding airport and passenger charges bill.

I found this surprising so I did a little research. According to an article in the Bulgarian media from March 14, 2016 Bulgaria Air owes about 48 million leva (about 24M Euro) to Sofia Airport. Total obligations from all airlines are supposedly 59.584 million leva (~30M Euro).

... and I thought FB were doing well...


M1
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