Ryanair opened its 87th base at Bourgas Airport on 27 March, with the airline basing one 737-800 at the Black Sea airport. Seen at the opening of the base are: Jonathan Ford, Assistant Editor, anna.aero; Denis Barabas, Sales and Marketing Executive CEE, Ryanair; Konstantin Temenov, Head of Department, Airport Operations Centre, Bourgas Airport; Georgi Chipilski, Director of Bourgas Airport; Ulrich Heppe, CEO Fraport Bulgaria; and Olga Pawlonka, Sales & Marketing Manager for CEE, Ryanair. With the base, Ryanair has introduced 11 new routes from Bourgas this summer.
Ryanair opened its 87th base at Bourgas Airport on 27 March, with the airline stationing one 737-800 at the airport, allowing the carrier to open 11 new routes, namely Bratislava (twice-weekly), Frankfurt Hahn (twice-weekly), Kaunas (weekly), Krakow (twice-weekly), Memmingen (twice-weekly), Milan Bergamo (twice-weekly), Riga (twice-weekly), Rzeszow (weekly), Tel Aviv (twice-weekly), Warsaw Modlin (twice-weekly) and Weeze (twice-weekly). This is the ULCC’s second base in Bulgaria, with it having opened its first at Sofia in September 2016. The carrier also operates into Varna and Plovdiv airports. Overall this summer, Ryanair will offer 20 weekly flights from Bourgas. The average sector length of the 11 routes launched this week is 1,393 kilometres, resulting in a mean sector time for the aircraft per rotation of two hours and 21 minutes.
Commenting on the opening of the base at Bourgas Airport, Ulrich Heppe, CEO of Fraport Bulgaria, said: “These routes will directly benefit the local tourism and accelerate Bourgas’ connectivity with the rest of Europe. It is obvious that the new base is a true asset for the economic development of the region.” Adding to Heppe’s comments, Olga Pawlonka, Sales & Marketing Manager for CEE, Ryanair, stated: “We are pleased to open our new Bourgas base, our 87th overall, with one based aircraft which will deliver 11 new routes. Overall we will carry 250,000 customers from Bourgas this year.”
A couple of weeks before the opening of the base, anna.aero’s Assistant Editor Jonathan Ford was kindly invited by Fraport Bulgaria’s Head of PR & Corporate Communication, Adriana Troanska, to come in person to attend the opening of the Ryanair base. Being a big fan of Bulgaria, Ford was soon booked up and on his was to Bourgas to attend the base inauguration on 27 March and enjoy the day’s events.
Touchdown in Bourgas for Europe’s largest low-cost airline. Ryanair had commenced operations earlier that day on 27 March, having flown a morning rotation to Bratislava and then a lunchtime departure to Memmingen, with the airport choosing to celebrate the Ryanair opening once the aircraft had returned from the Germany airport. Flight FR 3709 landed on Bourgas’s Runway 22 just a few minutes after its scheduled arrival time of 16:15, with the aircraft then departing at 17:30 for Krakow, with the aircraft staying on the ground for a little bit longer to allow for the base opening events.
Having dashed on the bus from the aircraft’s touchdown to the gate, it allowed for anna.aero’s Assistant Editor Jonathan Ford to climb to the top of some vacant air stairs to get a better angle for the water arch salute. While up there he was able to get a group shot which highlights the strong delegation that had turned out for Ryanair. Ford also managed to get a wave from Adriana Troanska, Head of PR & Corporate Communication, Fraport Bulgaria who can be seen holding the umbrellas.
Having touched down on Bourgas’ Runway 22, it was then time for Ryanair to get its water arch welcome. Taxiing from the runway on the recently refurbished Taxiway Alpha, 737-800 registered EI-EBN, was baptised with a splendid arch created by Bourgas’ fire crew. After gliding through the water curtain, the aircraft then pulled onto stand 15 where airport staff and local press awaited the aircraft and its first passengers, which also included the airline’s Sales & Marketing Managers for CEE Denis Barabas and Olga Pawlonka.
Time to celebrate success and hard work! While the aircraft was being prepared for departure, it was a chance for Fraport Bulgaria’s marketing team to get a group shot with Bourgas’ newest airline. Among those to travel down from the Varna office to Bourgas to witness the arrival of Ryanair were: Nikoleta Dimova, Marketing & Events Expert; Ivelina Koleva, Aviation Marketing Expert; Ivo Barzov, Aviation Marketing Expert; Denitsa Milosavljevic, Aviation Marketing & Development Expert; Dimitar Bikov, Head of Aviation Marketing Department; Maria Vasileva, Aviation Marketing Expert; and Dimitar Stoyanov, Aviation Marketing Traffic Analyst.
Giving their thumbs-up approval to Ryanair’s new venture on the apron at Bourgas Airport are Jonathan Ford, Assistant Editor of anna.aero and Dimitar Bikov, Head of Aviation Marketing Department, Fraport Bulgaria.
Once all the initial photos had been taken, it was time for the cutting of the ribbon. Carrying out the proceedings, and officially opening Ryanair’s new base in Bourgas, were: Adriana Troanska, Head of PR & Corporate Communication, Fraport Bulgaria; Valcho Cholakov, Bourgas District Governor; Dimitar Nikolov, Mayor of Bourgas; Denis Barabas, Sales and Marketing Executive CEE, Ryanair; Olga Pawlonka, Sales & Marketing Manager for CEE, Ryanair; Ulrich Heppe, CEO Fraport Bulgaria; Georgi Chipilski, Director of Bourgas Airport; Nikolay Sekalov, CCO Fraport Bulgaria; Rossen Philipov, CFO Fraport Bulgaria; and Kristina Neykova, PR Expert, Fraport Bulgaria.
Passengers landing on the first flight back from Memmingen were serenaded with traditional Bulgarian folk music. Once all passengers had disembarked and the photos had been taken, it was time to head to the terminal’s check-in area for further celebrations, an array of food, cake, drinks and official speeches.
For those of you that work in airline network planning, you are well aware that no celebration or networking event is complete without having a tipple. To herald the arrival of Ryanair, Bourgas Airport laid out a selection of some of Ireland’s strongest brands – including Baileys and Guinness – for the attendees of the base opening to enjoy. Unable to resist the sweet taste of Baileys as he walked into the terminal from the rain (described on the day as an Irish welcome, given that the the nation is well known for its downpours) is Ulrich Heppe, CEO Fraport Bulgaria.
Once everybody was inside the speeches began. Those who spoke at the event included: Ulrich Heppe, CEO Fraport Bulgaria; Olga Pawlonka, Sales & Marketing Manager for CEE, Ryanair; and Dimitar Nikolov, Mayor of Bourgas. “These 11 routes will directly contribute to the development of regional tourism and give us new opportunities to connect with Europe. It is obvious that the new base is a real asset for the economic development of the region,” commented Heppe. Adding to this, Pawlonka stated: “Ryanair is happy to be opening this base in Bourgas, and we look forward to carrying 250,000 passengers from the airport this year.”
No route launch celebration is complete without that all-important cake, and the team at Fraport Bulgaria had pulled out all the stops with its calorific masterpiece to welcome its newest airline. The three-tiered cake was designed to symbolise the outside of Bourgas Airport on the bottom tier, with the second showing that the airport’s connections are growing, while the third was a homage to the airport’s newest carrier. anna.aero’s Ford can confirm that the inside was filled with multiple layers of chocolate.
Conducting the ceremonial honour of cutting the cake were: Ulrich Heppe, CEO Fraport Bulgaria; Olga Pawlonka, Sales & Marketing Manager for CEE, Ryanair; and Dimitar Nikolov, Mayor of Bourgas.
Time for the tasting. Having taken a big slab of the cake’s second tier, Heepe then tasted the route launch marketing showstopper with Georgi Chipilski, Director of Bourgas Airport, who could not wait to get his hands on a slice too.
Once the cake had been cut, it was time for anna.aero to get in on the action. Getting their snap with the base launch showstopper are: Dimitar Bikov, Head of Aviation Marketing Department, Fraport Bulgaria; Adriana Troanska, Head of PR & Corporate Communication, Fraport Bulgaria; and Jonathan Ford, Assistant Editor, anna.aero. Ford would like to thank Fraport Bulgaria, particularly Troanska, for inviting him to come along and experience the base opening.
Entertainment was put on for passengers and delegates to enjoy once all of the official proceedings had taken place, including Bulgarian and Irish dancing, while a local band also performed traditional folk music. Once both genres of dance had been performed, it was time for a stand-off between the two nations for a dance battle. After a close fought competition, the ultimate winners were the Irish.