BTA News

Varna Airport Welcomes First Schengen Flight

A ceremony marking the arrival of the first flight since Bulgaria’s admission to the Schengen area by air took place at Terminal 2 of Varna Airport on Sunday.

The aircraft, en route from the German town of Memmingen to Varna, was greeted with a water salute after touching down at 11 a.m. The Wizz Air plane had 163 passengers on board, mostly Bulgarians, and a 4-member crew.

The first passengers entering Varna without having to go through border control were welcomed by Varna Deputy Mayors for Finance and Security, Hristo Rafailov and Iliya Koev, Regional Governor Andriyana Andreeva, and Varna Airport Director Dimitar Kostadinov, among others. The arrivals were also greeted with a dance performance by children from the town of Aksakovo (Varna Region), who cut the ribbon of a new transit area for Schengen travellers.

The event was documented by a group picture of the officials and guests present at the ceremony and the passengers of the first Schengen flight to land in Varna. The photo will be included in an exhibition at the European Museum Schengen in Luxembourg.

Vienna is the most popular Schengen destination, Varna Airport Director Dimitar Kostadinov said. Some 1,400 flights were operated to and from the Austrian capital in 2023, with more than 130,000 passengers. The second most popular Schengen destination is the German capital Berlin, followed by Memmingen.

“The Schengen project required a lot of effort and resources. Preparation of the airport began in 2009,” Kostadinov said. A total of BGN 1.5 million was spent on the new free transit area for Schengen countries, Varna Airport management noted. The renovation, which included rearrangement, new installations of video surveillance, fire extinguishing systems, air conditioning, fire alarms, and new roof facilities, among others, took 3 months and involved more than 3, 000 people.