Two Bulgarian companies have announced plans to overhaul Ruse Airport in the north of Bulgaria. Stroyproject and Straplan have plans to invest up to 1.5 million levs (around 765.000 euros) by May. Ruse Airport is currently open and is licensed to operate small passenger and cargo flights; however, no major airlines currently use it.

Current aerial view of Ruse Airport runway
Aerial view of Ruse Airport runway. | © Ruse Municipality

The New Airport

Proposals for the airport’s redevelopment include three phases. Phase one will focus on reconstructing the 1799m runway. Hangars, a cargo terminal and a new light system will be built from scratch, and the passenger terminal will be overhauled, along with the fuel warehouse.

The second phase will see the repair of the 2500m runway and the construction of four hangars that will be able to shelter aircraft the size of Airbus A320. The last phase is planned to construct a new passenger terminal with a capacity of up to 500 travellers and also a new building for aircraft maintenance.

If the Municipality of Ruse will grant the two companies permission to modernize the airport, it will also need to grant them the rights to operate it for the first ten years. This is one of the conditions the companies have stipulated in order for the investment to be feasible.

The reconstruction of Ruse Airport might attract larger airlines looking to expand in the region. It’s most likely going to be operated by low-cost carriers or charter flights. With the recent expansion of airlines in Eastern Europe, the newly developed airport could attract operators, such as AirConnect, looking to gain experience in the industry.

Ruse Airport terminal building in 1967
Ruse Airport in 1967. | © Y Stoyanov

About The Old Airport and Ruse

Ruse “Shtraklevo” Airport was built in 1967 to serve as a training site for Bulgarian Air Force pilots. During the communist era, it was also used for domestic flights to Sofia, however, these flights stopped operating after the collapse of communism. Eventually, the airport was abandoned in 1999. A decade later, the Bulgarian government transferred the airport to Ruse Municipality, and it soon gained the license to operate small flights.

The airport is located 20km south of the city, in the north of Bulgaria, at the border with Romania. Ruse is Bulgaria’s fifth largest city and the most significant Bulgarian port due to being located right on the Danube. The centre of the city houses Neo-Baroque and Neo-Rococo architecture, which attracts plenty of tourists. However, the rest of the region is lacking in terms of tourism potential.

Currently, the closest airport to Ruse is the one in Bucharest, Romania, which is around an hour and a half away by car, however, queues at the border could make the waiting time even longer. The closest Bulgarian airport is the one in Varna, two hours away, and the one in Sofia, four hours away by car.

What do you think about these plans for development? Would you welcome the increased traffic? Let us know in the comments.

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