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New Sofia Airport
New Sofia Airport
New Sofia Airport

Sofia, also known as Vrazhdebna (after the village located to the north) is the main airport in Sofia, Bulgaria. The airport is a hub for Bulgaria Air (successor of the bankrupt Balkan Airlines) and Hemus Air. It handled 2.2 million passengers in 2006, and 2.7 million passengers in 2007.

Initially built in the 1930s on the outskirts of the then relatively small capital city, Sofia Airport was facing difficulties with today's traffic. After years of studying different possibilities, some as far as 70 km away from Sofia, it was agreed to expand the existing airport. The airport's second terminal was officially opened on 27 December 2006.

According to the plan a new Sofia Airport terminal was built to the east of the current terminal, and a second runway was constructed alongside the existing one. The existing runway has been turned into a taxiway parallel to the newly constructed runway. Both are crossing the river Iskar on a bridge. The new runway was opened in August 2006, while the new terminal opened in December, 2006.

Total cost of the project was planned at 200 million euro. The financing was secured in 1997-98 from the European Investment Bank (60 million euro), Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (12.3 million Kuwaiti dinars, approx. 41.5 million euro), European Union's Phare programme (7.6 million euro). In August 2000 an ISPA grant of 50 million euro was allocated and in December the Financing Memorandum was signed.

The construction works was split in two lots: construction of the new terminal with its surrounding infrastructure, and construction of the new runway. First lot was allocated to the German branch of Austrian company Strabag, while second lot was won by consortium of Kuwaiti company Mohamed Abdulmohsin al-Kharafi & Sons and UAE-based Admak General Contracting Company.
The new Terminal 2 was officially opened on 27 December 2006 with the symbolic arrival of Bulgaria Air flight FB 408 from Brussels. It was one of the biggest projects in Bulgaria to receive funds from the EU ISPA programme. The price includes the new terminal, new aircraft parking aprons, upgrading the existing aircraft parking aprons and the construction of connecting taxiways. The terminal has 7 gates, 38 check-in desks and covers an area of 50,000 sq m and has a car park for 820 vehicles.
The new terminal is located to the east of Terminal 1 and is significantly bigger than the old one that will continue to serve the low-cost airlines.

The new passenger terminal building is designed with a capacity of 2,000 peak hour passenger flow and up to 2.6 million passengers per year together with 26,000 tonne of cargo. For the first time in Bulgaria an airport will serve passengers with airport gates instead of shuttle busses.

The new Sofia Airport Centre, a premiere corporate office, hospitality and logistics centre in Bulgaria is being constructed in the vicinity.

The infrastructure surrounding the building is expected to be completed in 2007. It includes a new motorway connecting the terminal with the existing airport road, landscape works including an artificial lake and a fountain.

The airlines ticketing offices, tourist and car hire desks, banks, post office, and cafeterias in Terminal 2 are located in the public area. The travel retail shops, Bulgarian wine and spirits shop and Business lounges are located airside beyond the area of border control. Terminal 2 is designed with special attention to disabled passengers. Their access to the different terminal levels and the multi-storey car park is facilitated via lifts and escalators.
Special Thanks to Wikipedia



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