Bulgaria’s National Carrier Owes Millions to Sofia Airport
Sofia Airport CEO Hristo Shterionov announced on Thursday national flag carrier Bulgaria Air owes BGN 47.2 M (EUR 24.1 M) to the state owned company.
At a press conference, he confirmed that the company had been operating at an ever smaller profit over the past few years (from BGN 30 M in 2008 to BGN 5.5 M in 2015), citing debts of Bulgaria Air as one of the reasons.
He asserted the collapse of Corporate Commercial Bank (KTB), where it had BGN 28 M in assets, and the forfeiture claim of a Gulf consortium also added to its troubled financial state.
The press conference followed calls from the opposition for an audit of the airport to evaluate how efficient it is being run.
In May, Irish low-cost airline Ryanair said it was considering whether to refer Bulgaria to the European Commission over illicit state aid to Bulgaria Air, citing the latter company’s failure to transfer fees to the airport for the past few years.
Bulgaria Air then denied the allegations.
It has until 2021 to pay off its debt, according to Shterionov.
The development comes as Bulgaria’s government is looking for a concessionaire for its biggest airport.
The procedure was brought to a halt by the Gulf consortium MAK/ADMAK, which has filed with the national competition watchdog a claim against the airport over dozens of millions it is yet to receive under a contract with the airport.