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Low-cost carriers eye military airport near Sofia
Updated: 2006-03-23

Low-cost carriers eye military airport near Sofia

Bulgaria may designate the military airport in Dobroslavtsi, near Sofia, for use by budget carriers, deputy transport minister Ucel Atilla said on Monday, March 20.

Several low-cost carriers have inquired about the facility, said the official, withholding the names of the interested parties.

The only no-frills carriers flying to and from Sofia at the moment are Hungary's Wizz Air and Slovakia's SkyEurope.

Wizz Air is not an airport operator but the enforced airport charges reflect on operating cost and air fares, said the company.

SkyEurope operates exclusively from major European airports, said the company. SkyEurope said it may consider relocating to a secondary airport only if the primary hub is dissatisfactory and imposes high airport charges.

The military airports that will be converted for civilian use should be located at a distance of at least 100 km from one another or else they will not be attractive for the investors, transport minister Petar Mutafchiev has been quoted as saying.

The Bulgarian government will shortlist over the next 2 weeks the military airports that will be repurposed as civilian facilities and signed over for operation under concession arrangements.

An interdepartmental group has been tasked with preparing the airport in Plovdiv for a concession procedure. The runway of the airport is used by the military while the passenger terminal is owned by a private company. The government could buy the facility from the private owner of build a new one, said Mutafchiev.

A concession procedure for the Straklevo airport, near Rousse, on the Danube, will be launched promptly.

Concession contracts are also likely to be awarded for the airports in Gorna Oryahovitsa, Targovishte, Stara Zagora and Haskovo.(Dnevnik)

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