In the past 2021, the capital’s airport has served a total of 3,364,151 passengers, which is an increase of 14.5% compared to 2020 but is 52.7% less than the pre-pandemic 2019, according to the press center of Sofia Airport.
Covid-19 dealt a severe blow to the aviation industry and the figures show a slow recovery in the sector. Although according to the European Statistical Office Eurostat Bulgaria is among the EU countries with a lower decline in flights at the end of 2021, the figures for Sofia Airport show that the recovery of passengers is less than 50% compared to 2019, when the capital’s airport served over 7 million passengers.
Passenger traffic on international scheduled services has increased by 12.9% compared to 2020, and domestic passengers have increased by 50%. However, if we have to compare the data with 2019, there is again a serious decline of 55.1% for international passengers and 30.8% for domestic passengers.
The number of take-offs and landings at Sofia Airport last year reached 40,771, which is an increase of 13.4% compared to 2020, but compared to 2019 we again have a decrease of 33.6% on an annual basis. The volume of processed cargo and postal items in 2021 decreased by 8.3% compared to 2020 and amounted to 21,141 tons. Here, too, there is a decrease compared to pre-pandemic 2019, when processed cargo and postal items were 23,987 and the decline was 11.9%.
The top destinations with the most passengers in 2021 are: London – 400,856, Varna – 175,192 and Frankfurt – 142,999. Respectively, the countries to which people traveled the most from Sofia Airport are: Germany – 506 838, Great Britain – 467,275, and Italy – 322,482.
In 2022, SOF Connect, the operator of Sofia Airport, maintains the levels of airport taxes in support of the aviation industry, and thus they remain the lowest in Eastern Europe and one of the lowest in Europe. This will provide opportunities for opening new destinations, increasing flight frequencies on existing ones, and attracting new airlines operating from Sofia Airport in 2022.