Last year 2021, the capital’s airport handled a total of 3,364,151 passengers, up 14.5% from 2020 but 52.7% less than the year before the pandemic, according to the Sofia Airport Press Center.
Covid-19 dealt a severe blow to the airline industry and figures show a slow recovery in the sector. Although according to the European statistical office Eurostat Bulgaria is among EU countries with a smaller drop in flights at the end of 2021, according to figures for Sofia Airport show that passenger recovery is less than 50% compared to 2019 when the capital’s airport served over 7 million passengers.
International scheduled passenger traffic 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 decrease of 55.1% in international passengers and 30.8% in domestic passengers.
The number of takeoffs and landings at Sofia Airport reached 40,771 last year, which is a 13.4% increase over 2020, but compared to 2019 we have again a 33.6% drop on an annualized basis. The volume of processed freight and mail in 2021 decreased by 8.3% compared to 2020 and amounted to 21,141 tons. Again, there is a decrease compared to the pre-pandemic year of 2019, when 23,987 freight and mail items were processed and the decrease was 11.9%.
The top destinations with the most passengers in 2021 are: London – 400,856, Varna – 175,192 and Frankfurt – 142,999. The countries from which people have traveled the most Sofia airport are: Germany – 506,838, UK – 467,275 and Italy – 322,482.
In 2022, SOF Connect, the operator of Sofia Airport, maintains the level of airport taxes to support the airline industry, remaining the lowest in East Asia Europe and one of the lowest in Europe. This will provide opportunities to open new destinations, increase the frequencies of existing ones and attract new airlines to operate from Sofia Airport in 2022.