Sofia, April 21, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency
By Clive Leviev-Sawyer of The Sofia Globe
Air traffic over Bulgaria is expected to increase by 50 per cent once the new international airport in Istanbul becomes operational, Bulgaria’s Transport Minister Ivailo Moskovski told participants in the annual conference of the International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers’ Association, which is being held in Sofia on April 20-24.
The increased air traffic would translate into more jobs for air traffic controllers in Bulgaria, which Moskovski estimated at between 40 per cent and 60 per cent over the next two years.
Currently, about 1700 flights pass over Bulgaria each day, rising to 3000 flights during the busiest periods of the year, but such a load would become a routine occurrence once the new Istanbul airport goes into operation, Moskovski said.
The hiring of new staff would not require government funds, as it would be paid for by the increased revenue from transit traffic, he said.
Bulgarian air traffic controllers association chief Assen Tabakov said that the process was already underway, but it would take some time for the increase in the number of air traffic controllers in Bulgaria to materialise because the certification process lasts two years.
Istanbul Yeni Havalimani, construction on which began in 2014, will be one of the largest airports in the world, with an annual capacity of 150 million passengers. It could be expanded further to 200 million passengers a year if required and will replace the Ataturk international airport that cannot be expanded further because of space limitations.
(Photo: Bulgarian Ministry of Transport)