Sofia Airport to become a 5-star airport by 2028 is the company’s mission
SOF Connect will invest more than 140 million BGN in the airport in the first 5 years of the concession, compared to 43 million euro originally planned. This was announced at a press conference of the airport’s CEO, Jesus Caballero. He talked about the company’s strategy and about the upcoming transformation of Terminal 2. The process provides for an increase in its capacity to cater for the flights currently operated from Terminal 1. The old terminal will retain its authenticity as a building of architectural value, but will acquire new functionality – VIP and business aviation.
“Our mission is to become a 5-star regional airport by 2028. We have a plan – we know how to achieve it, the investment required to do so and the team spirit,” said Jesus Caballero .
Sofia Airport’s development strategy is based on 4 main pillars. The first is the passenger experience, which encompasses the entire process of serving the passenger and shapes their assessment of their airport experience. The passenger’s impression starts from arrival at the airport, continues through check-in, security and border police checks, duty-free shops and food court, and ends at the gate.
The second pillar of the strategy is efficiency and related to it financial performance, bench-marked with the best airports in Europe.
Environmental care is the third major focus for the airport’s development – reducing its own greenhouse gas emissions by 28% by 2026 and achieving carbon neutrality for operations under its own control by 2036.
The economic and social contribution is the fourth pillar of the transformation strategy, which is to contribute to increasing the country’s GDP by almost 1%, adding value not only to Sofia but to Bulgaria as a whole. This will result from growing air connectivity and economic activity at the airport and related companies.
“In the next years Terminal 2 will be a construction site. Because it will continue to operate around the clock, it is something like repairing a car engine while it is running. We can deal with this to make the terminal more pleasant for passengers, but also more efficient and automated in terms of processes and capacity,” said Jesus Caballero.
Terminal 2 will be extensively redeveloped. Check-in counters will be relocated and almost doubled in size. A complete replacement of the baggage management system and doubling of the bagage arrivals belts are also planned. Domestic flights area will be relocated so that travellers to Varna and Burgas will have access to all terminal facilities.
Nearly 2,000 square metres of completely new retail space, serviced by the world’s largest operator – Dufry, is to be commissioned, it was announced at the press conference. Security screening capacity is also being doubled, from 6 to 11 checkpoints, and 3 additional boarding bridges will be constructed to serve wide-body aircraft.
A complete redesign of the upper level of Terminal 2, where the business lounges will be located, is planned. Part of the terminal transformation is the separation of arrivals and departuresas Shengen rules requires.
A few weeks ago, a contract was signed with the state-owned company Sofia Airport EAD and SOF Connect is now has the right touse of the T2 car park renovation design. A tender procedure was announced and 20 construction companies expressed interest already. It is expected that a contract will be signed with the selected construction company in July.
“All of the above is a huge infrastructure work that requires coordination. As I have mentioned other times, for everything to go according to plan, we need good coordination with the state administration. Another part of our work is to actively promote Bulgaria as a destination, working with airlines on a daily basis for new routes to and from Sofia, attracting investors and building an airport ecosystem that provides employment and economic contribution to Sofia and the country. We are working on more than 100 new destinations with airlines and we are optimistic that this is the right direction,” concluded Jesús Caballero.
Sofia Airport’s new logo was also unveiled at the press conference. It also became clear that a complete rebranding of the capital’s airport in the spirit of the company’s new corporate identity is on the way.