Plovdiv Airport is the main airport of Plovdiv, one of the largest cities in Bulgaria. The airport is located 150km south-east of the Bulgarian capital Sofia, on the Plovdiv-Assenoygrad main motorway.
Opened in 1981, the airport acts as an alternative to Sofia Airport. It does not operate flights directly, but handles those redirected from Sofia Airport during bad weather conditions or any other emergency. In 2007, the airport served 104,000 passengers.
In mid 2008, it was decided to modernise Plovdiv Airport. As part of the modernisation, a new terminal, 250m south-west of the old terminal, was inaugurated in July 2009. Sponsored jointly by the government and the airport, the new terminal has been constructed at a cost of 13m lev.
The terminal began operation in August 2009. It will be the sole passenger terminal at the airport once the old terminal ceases to function.
Plovdiv Airport contractors
The terminal was designed by Arkont-A, a local Plovdiv company, chosen out of 14 participants in a national design competition. The construction contract was awarded to Koev, another Plovdiv-based firm, which specialises in construction, design, real estate, production and transportation activities. Koev completed the project in 127 days.
New terminal design
The terminal occupies 6,750m², accommodating a huge public hall, restaurants, fast food outlets, shops, air carrier offices, tour-operator offices and an information desk. The terminal is designed to serve up to 1,000 passengers an hour at peak times. The terminal has been awarded a C-class status by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) for its level of service.
The fully air-conditioned terminal comprises two levels, of which, the 5,000m² ground level is dedicated to passenger handling.
The departure area has ten check-in desks, equipped with local departure control systems. There are two halls for departing passengers. Each hall consists of one duty-free and travel retail shop, a cafe and two police desks. One hall meant exclusively for Shengen passengers, has a single gate, while the other hall for non-Shengen passengers has two gates. The departure area also has one VIP hall and a business lounge, each with separate gates to reach to the airside.
In arrivals, there are two halls for Shengen and non-Shengen passengers. The halls are equipped with one gate, two immigration desks, two baggage belts and one shop. There is also a currency exchange for arriving passengers.
Level one of the terminal, extending 1,750m² is meant for administration and other offices. The central part, which has a view of the apron, is occupied by airport operations. On one side there is a customs and border police office, a cafe and some free area to be rented out to businesses. The other side of level one houses airport administration and a chapel. Two large meeting halls are also located on level one.
The exterior of the terminal is completely made of glass.
The modernisation of Plovdiv Airport also included apron extension, construction of a new public parking in front of the terminal and installation of new electric supply system, lighting system and water supply system.
Costing approximately 40m lev, the new infrastructure is expected to transform the airport into a global destination. The upgrade is also expected to encourage tourism in Plovdiv.