|Commenced operations||4 December 2002|
|Frequent-flyer program||FLY MORE|
|Airport lounge||Vitosha Lounge Sofia
Business Lounge Sofia
VIP Lounge Sofia
|Parent company||Balkan Hemus Group EAD|
Bulgaria Air (Bulgarian: България Ер), is the flag carrier airline of Bulgaria, with its headquarters at Sofia Airport in Sofia. The company is owned by Chimimport Inc. and is a leader in terms of local market share. In 2008, according to the company's Annual Report, Bulgaria Air carried 1,185,430 passengers. Bulgaria Air’s fleet consists of 10 aircraft for short and medium range flights.
The airline was established in 2002 as a successor to the insolvent Balkan Bulgarian Airlines. By order of the Minister of Transport and Communications it was declared the national flag carrier in November 2002, starting operations on the 4th of December, 2002. The name and initial logo were determined by a public competition. Bulgaria Air was privatised in 2006; although it was rumoured that the government wanted to sell the carrier to a major foreign investor, a union of locally-owned companies, led by Hemus Air, emerged as the buyer with Italian Air One being the only other contender. Hemus Air reportedly paid €6.6m and promised to invest a further €86m over the next five years. Since then all flights and operations of Hemus Air and its subsidiary Viaggio Air are under name and management of the merged company, Bulgaria Air.
Bulgaria Air initially began operations by the name of "Balkan Air Tour." The airline was known by that name for a short period of time.
In mid-2011 Bulgaria Air announced that after a thorough analysis of their destinations they had chosen to purchase 7 new Embraer E-190 aircraft. The aircraft will most likely come with a 108 seat configuration (8 Business, 100 Economy). The delivery of the first planes was in early 2012, whilst the remaining aircraft will be delivered later in 2013.
In November 2002 public contests were held in Bulgaria to determine a name and logo for the new airline. Thousands of people showed their creativity and voiced their opinions. After searching through countless submissions, the name and logo were chosen. The design was used for about 4 years, until 2006, when an improved, more professional design, was introduced. After the full fleet merge of Hemus Air and Viaggio Air, a new livery had to be developed once again. In mid-2010, the first Bulgaria Air Airbus A319 was rolled out wearing the finalised colour scheme.
Currently the company serves over 60 leading tour operators, air transport brokers, airlines and other companies of the aviation and tourist industries, performing charter flights to over 80 destinations in Europe, Africa and Asia.
Private business flights
The company offers service for business and VIP clients with an Avro RJ70 Business Jet. The passenger compartment of the aircraft is equipped with 26 armchairs, couches, dining tables and multiple LCD displays, as well as on-board Wi-Fi.
"Fly More" is the name of the Bulgaria Air Frequent flyer programme. There are three levels of membership:
- Basic - initial level from which the collection of points starts. The member receives a temporary card with identification code.
- Silver Standard Card - After the member conducts 5 flight he/she receives a permanent membership card. Silver Card holders may exchange their bonus points for free tickets and additional services.
- Gold Privilege Card - The level is reached after earning 30,000 points within 18 months of enrollment into the programme. Gold cardholders earn a greater number of points on each flight and enjoy a wider range of benefits.
In 2010 Bulgaria Air and LSG Sky Chefs created a new airline catering company called Silver Wings. The total investment for Bulgaria Air reaches to $1.3 million. Future investment plans envision a new canteen to serve the airport staff at Sofia Airport.
Bulgaria Air Media
Bulgaria On Air is a business media brand, created on 9 September 2011. It is owned by Bulgaria Air and M-SAT cabel. The media includes two magazines, website, radio and TV channel.
- Bulgaria On Air: The Inflight Magazine - Bulgaria Air's inflight magazine. Its first edition was in 2003. The magazine is widely read business and lifestyle edition.
- Bulgaria On Air: The Business Magazine - In April 2011 the inflight magazine was extended with an edition which is distributed in some hotels and shopping centers.
- "Contacts." Bulgaria Air. Retrieved on 10 May 2010. "Head office 1, Brussels Blvd Sofia Airport Sofia 1540" Address in Bulgarian: "бул. "Брюксел" № 1 Летище София София 1540"
- About Bulgaria Air. Air.bg (2009-09-23). Retrieved on 2010-12-21.
- Candidate for Bulgaria Air selected – Business. The Sofia Echo (2006-10-30). Retrieved on 2010-12-21.
- Bulgaria Air Deal Completed – Bulgaria. The Sofia Echo (2007-01-05). Retrieved on 2010-12-21.
- Bulgaria Air – News About Flights to/from Bulgaria. Air.bg. Retrieved on 2010-12-21.
- Bulgaria Air Partners. Air.bg (2009-09-23). Retrieved on 2010-12-21.
- Bulgaria Air signed a partnership agreement with Emirates
- Bulgaria Fleet Age
- "Bulgaria Air – Fleet". Bulgaria Air. 2009. Retrieved 11 September 2011.
- "Bulgaria Air - Details and Fleet History". Planespotters.net. 23 October 2011. Retrieved 9 November 2011.
- Bulgaria Air Business Flights Conditions. Air.bg (2009-09-23). Retrieved on 2010-12-21.
- "Bulgaria Air News". Bulgaria Air.
Media related to Bulgaria Air at Wikimedia Commons