Bulgaria's Cabinet has assigned the management of the future civilian airport at the Black Sea town of Balchik to Sofia International Airport.
"Sofia Airport, whose parent organization is the Ministry of Transport, IT and Communications, has sufficient management experience that will guarantee the execution of the project [for Balchik Airport]. This will create an opportunity for Balchik Airport to start accepting civilian flights shortly," the Bulgarian government said in its announcement Wednesday.
In June and July 2011, the Borisov Cabinet moved to turn the inactive military airport near Balchik into a third international airport on Bulgaria's Black Sea coast alongside Varna Airport and Burgas Airport.
The Balchik Airport runway is located 800 m east of the Levski Quarter of the town of Balchik, on a plot of 460 hectares; it is 60 m wide and 2 500 m long, and could be extended north by 3 500 m.
The Bulgarian government expects that the future Balchik Airport will take up about one-third of the flights that are currently served by Varna Airport, located 40 km to the south. During the busy summer tourist season the high number of foreign tourists flying in create a complex transport situation in the city of Varna, since Varna Airport is right next to Varna's major boulevard and the entrance of the Hemus Highway linking it to Sofia. Thus, all passengers arriving at Varna Airport have to go through the city center in order to reach the resorts located north of it - Golden Sands, Albena, Kranevo, Balchik.
In early July 2011, Bulgaria's Cabinet decided it would invest BGN 30 M in the reconstruction of the military airport near the Black Sea resort of Balchik in order to transform it into a civilian airport, with Prime Minister Boyko Borisov directly ordering the Finance Ministry to allocate the money.
Borisov's rationale is that the reconstruction will be the fastest way to make Balchik Airport fit for being granted on a concession.
The other major argument of the Bulgarian Prime Minister to pour money into the airport near Balchik, which is located about 40 km north of the Black Sea city of Varna and Varna International Airport is that Northeastern Bulgaria has no alternative airport, and Varna Airport has a monopoly in the region. (Source: Sofia News Agency)