Passenger traffic at Bulgaria’s coastal airports falls 77% y/y in August

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Passenger numbers at Bulgaria’s coastal airports of Varna and Burgas decreased by a combined 77% year-on-year to 287,769 in total in August, due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the owner of the airports, Germany’s Fraport Group, said.

“Fraport’s Group airports worldwide recorded a slight positive trend in August 2020, boosted by holiday air traffic. Nevertheless, the company’s international airport portfolio also continued to be impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic,” the group said in a statement earlier this month.

As of March 13, Bulgaria is in a state of emergency imposed over the virus and including travel restrictions. The state of emergency was later replaced by a state of epidemic emergency, which is expected to last until the end of November.

In February, Fraport Twin Star Airport Management, a 60/40 joint venture of Germany’s Fraport and Bulgaria’s BM Star said that it plans to invest over 12 million levs ($6.8 million/6.1 million euro) this year in the Bulgarian airports of Varna and Burgas which it operates. Fraport Twin Star Airport Management has already started a reconstruction of the apron at Burgas airport and will begin a project for expansion and rehabilitation at Varna airport, the company said back then.

Last month, the European Commission approved Bulgaria’s 4.4 million euro scheme for liquidity support of the airports in Burgas and Varna in the context of the coronavirus pandemic. The public support will take the form of a deferral of the payments of the concession fees due by Fraport Twin Star Airport Management  to the Bulgarian government which owns the airports’ infrastructure, the Commission said back then.

Combined passenger traffic at the Bulgarian coastal airports was already on the decline in 2019 – it fell by 10.7% year-on-year to some 4.97 million.

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