14
Sep

Sofia Airport at 80

Sofia Airport has the potential to become one of the largest and most modern airports in the Balkans. This was said by Ivaylo Moskovski, Minister of Transport, Information Technology and Communications, at the event marking the 80th anniversary of Sofia Airport. He announced that more than 4 million and 400,000 passengers had been served at the airport since the beginning of 2017, which was a 41% increase compared to the same period last year. According to him, the 5-millionth passenger is expected next month, and by the end of the year the number of passengers passing through the airport will reach the record-breaking number of 6 million. For comparison purposes, the passengers who used the airport in 2007 were about two million and seven hundred thousand, he said.

Sofia Airport Executive Director Vladimir Rapondzhiev announced that during the recent years there had been a steady trend towards a continuous increase in the number of passengers served at Sofia Airport. “It’s not a coincidence that an acknowledged international ranking has named Sofia Airport the fastest growing airport in Europe in the 3-5 million passengers category”, he said.

On the occasion of the 80th anniversary, the members of Sofia Airport Board of Directors – Assya Ivanova and Maya Andreeva, Vladimir Rapondzhiev, Executive Director of the airport and Deyan Daneshki, Executive Director of Bulgarian Posts, validated a postage stamp. It is a miniature with an image of the airport, its façade reflecting the outlines of Vitosha Mountain. In support of young and talented Bulgarians, Sofia Airport chose the stamp designer to be 24-year-old artist Emilio Borata. The issue of the postal-philatelic edition is 11,000.

At the event, guests had the opportunity to take a virtual walk at Sofia Airport and take a look at the exhibition "The Unknown Sofia Airport" displaying a collection of  past and present photos.

 

More about Sofia Airport

The date of birth of Sofia Airport is considered to be 16 September, 1937, with the publication of the Decree of Tsar Boris III, but flights have been operated since the early 1930s. In 1939 the first passenger terminal building was opened and two years later the airfield was completed with the construction of a paved runway. In the middle of the 20th century, the first concrete runway was built, of 1050 metres in length. (for comparison – today the take-off and landing runway at Sofia Airport is 3600 metres long).

The first scheduled Sofia-Burgas air service was opened on 29 June, 1947 and was operated by Junkers Ju 52 (German aircraft). The first flight, which today is operated for half an hour, was completed for two hours.

The fast-growing aviation sector at the end of XXth century required modernization of the existing infrastructure of Sofia Airport. In 2000, Sofia Airport Terminal 1 was totally renovated – the Departure Hall was extended, and a separate building was designated for arriving passengers. In 2002, the construction of a new terminal building was started and it was opened on the eve of Bulgaria's accession to the EU - 27 December 2006. Terminal 2 is designed to meet the needs of the increasing traffic. In December 2013 Terminal 2 was expanded, thus increasing its capacity.

There are 29 airlines operating at Sofia Airport, with flights to 84 airports in 27 countries in Europe and the Middle East.