|Operator||Fraport Twin Star Airport Management|
|Elevation AMSL||70 m / 230 ft|
Varna Airport (Bulgarian: Летище Варна, Letishte Varna) (IATA: VAR, ICAO: LBWN) is the airport of Varna, the historical maritime capital of Bulgaria. Varna Airport is the third largest airport in Bulgaria and an important destination during the summer leisure seasons. The airport is located 10 kilometers from the center of Varna near the town of Aksakovo. The airport serves Varna, Golden Sands and northeastern Bulgaria. There are domestic and international flights to about 116 destinations in 40 countries by more than 53 Bulgarian and foreign airlines. The busiest season for the airport is from the end of May to the beginning of October.
The history of the airport dates back to 1916 when two sheds for the first hydro-port in Bulgaria were built in the Peinerdzhik area (present-day Chaika residential area). Irregular mail-plane service from Sofia to Varna was held between 1919 and 1920 and it was not until 1947 that a permanent airline between the two cities was established. What had grown into Tihina Airport was situated west of the present-day Asparuhov bridge and was indeed quite primitive for the demands of a modern city. Thus in 1946 a decision was made and a new airport was constructed several kilometres west of the city, near the village (now town) of Aksakovo, with local people enthusiastically working on the site together with the constructors. Construction and improvement continued throughout the years, with a new terminal built in 1972 and a new runway in 1974.
In 2013, a new passenger terminal opened and the one constructed in the 20th century was closed down.
There are domestic and international flights form Varna to about 70 destinations in 25 countries, with Bulgarian and foreign airlines. The airport is close to the Port of Varna and the railway system. The airport has one asphalt-covered runway 09/27 with ILS CAT I system on 09 edge and a parking apron for 24 aircraft.
Currently Varna Airport is subject to heavy traffic with the growing tourism industry in Bulgaria and is in need of major investments to modernize, expand and handle projected passenger traffic. In June 2006 the Bulgarian Government awarded Fraport AG Frankfurt Airport Services Worldwide a 35-year-long concession on both Varna and Burgas airports in return for investments exceeding €500 million, including a new passenger terminal by 2008.
In 2016 the airport handled 1,689,595 passengers - a 20.8% increase compared to 2015.
The airport has three terminals: Terminal 1, built in 1972 (closed), and Terminal 3 (opened in June 2007), which was used during the summer season and the new Terminal 2, opened in August 2013.
Terminal 1 /closed/ has been extended several times over the years. The departures area had 21 check-in counters and six security checkpoints. In the terminal there were various outlets: cafes, fast food restaurants, currency exchange, and duty-free shops. There were ten boarding gates. The arrivals area had two luggage belts, as well as currency exchange and a tax-free shop. Terminal 1 still has a VIP room and business lounge. In 2010 the VIP room at Varna Airport was renovated. As of 2014, all flights, including no-frills, are managed by Terminal 2. Hence, the old terminal is closed except the VIP area.
Terminal 2 started operations as of 18 August 2013. In December 2011 the construction work on new Terminal 2 began. T2 has a capacity of 1,800,000 passengers per year and 25 check-in desks. It covers an area of 18,000 m2. T2 buildings are designed so that their capacity could be further increased as an extension to the existing architectural part. The first passenger service on T2 was a domestic flight to Sofia operated by the national carrier Bulgaria Air and first international passengers served were on a Belavia flight from Minsk. T2 was designed by London-based architecture firm Pascall+Watson.
Airlines and destinations
The following airlines operate regular scheduled and charter flights at Varna Airport:
|3.||/ SunExpress Deutschland||
|6.||// Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia||
|9.||TUI fly Belgium||
|10.||/ SmartLynx Airlines||
Bus line 409 connects the airport with Varna city center and resorts nearby (route: Varna Airport – Mall Varna – Varna Bus Station / Grand Mall – City Center – Saints Constantine and Helena - Golden Sands).
Incidents and accidents
- On 24 May 2013, Air VIA flight 502 from Leipzig/Halle to Varna overran runway 09 at Varna Airport after touchdown. Two passengers were injured during evacuation.
- On 5 June 1992 Balkan Bulgarian Airlines Tupolev 154B overran runway 27 in bad weather conditions. There ware no casualties, but the plane was written off.
- The airport is notoriously known for the disappearance of German tourist Lars Mittank, who mysteriously fled from the airport on July 8 2014.
- List of airports in Bulgaria
- List of airlines of Bulgaria
- List of the busiest airports in Europe by passenger traffic
- "Varna Airport Closes for Runway Overhaul in October". Retrieved 7 June 2015.
- "WIZZ AIR ANNOUNCES AUSTRIAN BASE IN VIENNA WITH 3 BASED AIRCRAFT AND 17 NEW LOW-FARE ROUTES". wizzair.com. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
- "Начало". Retrieved 7 June 2015.
- "Морски - Самолет излезе от пистата на летище Варна, две жени са със счупени крайници (допълнена и видео) - видео - Dnevnik.bg". www.dnevnik.bg. Retrieved 7 June 2015.
- "The Aviation Herald". Retrieved 7 June 2015.
- Harro Ranter (5 June 1992). "ASN Aircraft accident Tupolev 154B LZ-BTD Varna Airport (VAR)". Retrieved 7 June 2015.
Media related to Varna Airport at Wikimedia Commons