Airlines Remembered

Balkan Bulgarian Airlines


Photos © R.Leeuw


Ceased operations: 14feb01
Homebase: Sofia, Bulgaria
Founded: 1947
ICAO callsign: Balkan
Flightnbr prefix: LZ / LAZ
Operations: passengers & cargo

(c) Ruud Leeuw

Boeing 737-53A LZ-BOB (c/n 24921/1962) is seen here at Amsterdam Int'l (SPL) in May 2000; this aircraft was operating in 2002 for RIO SUL Serviços Aéreos Regionais S.A. (Brazil).

In 1947 a company called Tabso was formed by Bulgaria & USSR; it was nationalized in 1954. In 1968 it was transformed to Balkan Bulgarian Airlines. It was privatized in 1993 and a 75% stake was acquired in 1999 by Israel's Zeevi Holdings and Arkia.
Balkan Bulgarian Airlines ceased Feb.14th 2001 all operations due to financial problems.
The Aircraft Operators Certificate (AOC) was withdrawn by Bulgarian aurhorities and all int'l flights ceased during 3 months.
Balkan Air Tour (Sofia) was reported as being the successor of bankrupt Balkan Bulgarian Airlines with operations expected to start 01Dec02.

Thursday, 21 November 2002 (http://www.government.bg/English/PressOffice/News/2002-11-12/905.html):
"Balkan Air Tour becomes national flag carrier
Transport Minister Plamen Petrov issued an order designating Balkan Air Tour national flag carrier. For the time being Balkan Air Tour is to be the national air carrier for services for which there are intergovernmental agreements making it possible for them to be performed by more than one air carrier. Bulgaria has such agreements with France, Germany, the UK, Northern Ireland and the United Arab Emirates.
A procedure has been opened for the issuing of operation certificates to Balkan Air Tour by the aviation administrations of these countries for performing regular services to the coordinated destinations.
Today, a meeting of experts was held at the Ministry of Finance to discuss the business plan submitted by Balkan Air Tour.
The management of Balkan Air Tours also met representatives of Lufthansa Technik at which an agreement was reached on the terms for transferring the Boeing 737-300 aircraft used by Balkan Airlines declared bankrupt last week."

Balkan Air Tours changed its name to Bulgaria Air in March 2003. By June 2003 a Boeing 737-500, leased from Lufthansa, was reported operating with Bulgaria@Air.BG titles.

The fleet in 2002 consisted of:

Reg.TypeC/nCapacity
LZ-ANCAntonov 24B67302808Y42
LZ-ANDAntonov 24B77303301Y42
LZ-ANMAntonov 24B77302905Y42
LZ-Boeing 737-300 CY142to be leased 0502
LZ-Boeing 737-300 CY142to be leased 0502
LZ-BACAntonov 12B6343708Freighter
LZ-BAEAntonov 12BP402001Freighter
LZ-BAFAntonov 12B402408Freighter
LZ-BAHAntonov 12BP9346807Freighter
LZ-BTHTupolev 154M754CY154
LZ-BTZTupolev 154M781CY90lsf BGF / Government-cs/no titles
LZ-LTVTupolev 154M895CY154
OM-AABTupolev 154M1015CY157lsf SLL / Slovak-c/s with Balkan t/t


Tupolev Tu-154M LZ-BTZ is operated with "Republic of Bulgaria"- titles and was photographed by me at Sharjah on April 26th 2000.

Sources:
Fleet info: JP Airline Fleets 2002/2003


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