Despite flying "in bulk" to more than 150 destinations throughout Europe, low-cost airline Ryanair is very picky in choosing which airports it uses. Among the list of conditions that must be met, the most important is that the use of the airport must come cheaply.
This is one of the main reasons why the largest no-frills airline in the world is yet to launch flights to Bulgaria. But all of that could change now that several municipalities in Plovdiv region - Hissarya, Assenovgrad and Rodopi - have joined forces to draw more tourists by exploiting the proximity of Plovdiv Airport.
In 2009, the Bulgarian Government completed work on a large passenger terminal in the country's second-largest city, investing more than 40 million leva in the construction, which for now stands empty.
Until April, the only regular arrivals to Plovdiv were by Russian airline S7 out of Siberia, which will resume flights in September.
Cargo flights are out of the question because Plovdiv Airport has no cargo terminal, so the only option is to attract passenger flights by low-cost airlines, since the traditional carriers operate flights to the not-so-distant Sofia.
To draw the interest of big-name players like Ryanair, the Cabinet halved the fees for Plovdiv Airport starting May 1 until May 1 2012. The airport fee is thus half that charged by Sofia Airport and and the passenger processing fee is three times lower.