Bulgaria Air Launches Valencia Flights From Sofia

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This summer, Bulgaria Air will begin service connecting Sofia, Bulgaria’s capital city, to Valencia, Spain’s third-largest city. This once-weekly flight will take place every Tuesday, leaving Sofia around 13:10 and arriving in Valencia at 15:15. It will then depart Valencia on the return journey at 16:00, arriving back in Sofia at 19:45. The services commences on the 2nd June.

Bulgarian Airlines
Bulgaria Air is heading to Valencia. Photo: Tom Boon/Simple Flying

More flight details

According to the airline, one-way tickets to Valencia start at €79 (US$86). Round-trip tickets start at €149 (US$162). Included in Bulgaria’s basic fare is one cabin bag as well as a smaller personal item. Inflight meal service is also included.

When we asked the airline about the type of aircraft operating the service, they responded telling us that flights will be operated by an Airbus 319, Airbus 320, Embraer 190 or Boing 737. This is essentially every aircraft type in its fleet. If true, this indicates that the airline will try to be as flexible as possible in order to ensure a high load-factor for every flight.

The Embraer E190 is the smallest jet that Bulgaria Air has in its fleet. Photo: Lukas von Daeniken via Wikimedia Commons

The flight will take roughly three hours to complete each way and is the fifth destination in Spain that Bulgaria Air flies to. The other Spanish cities include Palma de Mallorca, Barcelona, Malaga, and Madrid.

Increasing the airline’s portfolio of destinations is one part of its long-term strategy. Just last month, the airline also announced that it would begin service from Sofia to the Russian city of Saint Petersburg in April. This twice-weekly flight will take place on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Competing with Wizz

An airline that already flies this route is Wizz Air. The key difference with Wizz is that its flight departs in the evening, at 1900h from Sofia. This means that travelers flying from Valencia to Sofia will depart Spain just before 2200h and arrive in the middle of the night, at a horrendous 0200h the next day.

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This should be enough of a selling point for Bulgaria Air flights to lure customers away from Wizz Air.

We asked Bulgaria Air what they thought best set them apart from the competition. This is what they had to say:

“There is no place to compare these two airlines, as we offer a lot of free services such as free choice of various meals, free seat assignment, check-in at the airport free of charge.”

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The airline spokesperson also added that it allows the transportation of live animals (dogs and cats), as well as, unaccompanied minors, and firearms and ammunition. They also said that the airline also allows the free carriage of one piece of ski/snowboard equipment for all flights that it operates.

The last point the airline wanted to highlight was that its hand baggage allowance was more generous when compared to the competition.

“The prices we offer are competitive with all low cost airlines but we offer more.” they concluded.

wizz-air
Wizz Air also operates direct service between Sofia and Valencia. The main difference between the two airlines is the timing of the flights. Photo: Wizz Air

Conclusion

2019 was a challenging year for European commercial aviation. The factors of airline bankruptcies, the MAX grounding, and flight-shaming combined, meant that there were fewer travelers in European skies. With the coronavirus (COVID-19) and Air Italy’s unexpected collapse, this year is already off to a rocky start as well.

Fortunately for Bulgaria Air, the 737 MAX issue won’t affect it but we’ll just have to see if its modestly ambitious new routes will attract the business it’s hoping for in 2020.

Have you flown Bulgaria Air before? We’d love to know what you thought of the experience. Share your thoughts by leaving a comment.

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