GullivAir – The Bulgarian Startup Hoping To Fly A330s To New York

A new Bulgarian airline named GullivAir received its operating license two months ago and is now intending to start flights between New York JFK and the capital of Bulgaria, Sofia. The airline has an Airbus A330 aircraft that has already operated one charter flight from Bulgaria to Nassau. Let’s take a look.

GullivAir Airbus A330
GullivAir received its Airbus A330 on July 31st and it now wants to fly it to New York JFK. Photo: GullivAir

A Bulgarian startup airline

GullivAir is a new airline in Bulgaria that was issued with an operating license by Bulgaria’s Civil Aviation Administration on September 25th this year. The airline announced this on Facebook at the time, while curiously also adding that it had an “exhausting dogfight” with the authorities about it.

A week later, in early October this year, Gullivair issued a statement to Flight Zone outlining its plans for the near future. The Bulgarian startup airline wants to acquire more Airbus A330 aircraft to launch more long-haul flights.

From the very start, the airline intended to launch flights from Sofia to New York. At the time, in October this year, Gullivair was still in the process of obtaining permission from the US Department of Transportation, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Transportation Security Administration, as well JFK Airport itself.

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EASA bans Pakistani licensed pilots
GullivAir’s A330 was previously with Shaheen Air of Pakistan. Photo: Yousaf465 via Wikimedia Commons

GullivAir received its Airbus A330, registered LZ-ONE, on July 31st this year. The aircraft had arrived from San Bernardino in California, with a stopover in Bangor en route, as is visible from the available flight history data. The aircraft then performed its first flight from Sofia to Burgas, a city on the other side of Bulgaria.

The Airbus A330 aircraft is 13 years old. It was first delivered to KLM of The Netherlands in 2007, after which it was with two leasing companies. One of them leased it to Shaheen Air, a Pakistani airline, under the registration 2-PAOH, where it stayed until 2018. After that, it had been parked until GullivAir took it on this year.

Air Serbia Airbus A330 New York JFK
GullivAir will rival Air Serbia in the region when it comes to Bulgarian and Romanian passengers heading for New York. Photo: Getty Images

GullivAir heads for New York JFK

A US Department of Transportation document confirms that Gullivair intends to launch flights from Bulgaria to the US now that it has the right to do so as a registered airline of a European Union member state. Boarding Pass reports that the airline will also receive two further Airbus A330 aircraft formerly operated by Turkish Airlines as well as ATR-72 turboprops.

Presumably, this means that GullivAir will launch a feeder network in the region to sustain its transatlantic flights out of Bulgaria. In doing so, it will rival Air Serbia’s New York JFK flights, which have been highly successful even during 2020.

Other destinations that GullivAir plans to serve are Toronto and Delhi, but it also plans to operate charter services and other ad hoc flights. Yesterday, for example, GullivAir’s A330 flew to Birmingham in the UK. In October, it flew to Nassau in the Bahamas.

What do you think of GullivAir and its plans? Let us know in the comments below.