The article was updated in August 2022.
The beginning of aviation under the hills was set in the distant 1928, when the first test flight Sofia-Plovdiv-Yambol-Burgas was performed. On August 18, 1932, the city's airport was officially opened, located on 80 hectares to the left of the road to Asenovgrad.
Then, in 1947, temporary civil flights between Sofia and Plovdiv began, related to the sample fair. According to the press, over 1,500 passengers were transported in 45 days, and Plovdiv Airport served an average of 25 planes a day.
The flights on the already regular line Sofia-Plovdiv-Burgas-Varna and back started in May of the following year. Plovdiv airport, as well as a ticket office, was also opened in the building of the former Fifth Air Regiment. The first flights were operated by TABSO, Yu-2 aircraft, and then by LI-2.
On May 2, 1962, the airport moved to the area of the village of Graf Ignatievo, and a year later in the Otechestven Glas regional newspaper an article was published entitled: THE TRACK OF PLOVDIV AIRPORT IS COMPLETED. The same article reported on the expansion of the charter flights of the Bulgarian airline BALKAN to Berlin, Moscow, Prague, Vienna with IL-18, TU-104 and TU-114 aircraft.
On September 13, 1965 the new reception building was completed, and next year the aircraft parking lot was expanded to meet the needs of the winter charter program.
During these first years at its new location, Plovdiv Airport served the regular domestic passenger lines to Burgas, Varna, Targovishte, Ruse, Gorna Oryahovitsa and Sofia, mainly by IL-14 aircraft. The airport has been declared a national champion several times.
In the 1970s, the cargo flights of Aeroflot, which transported greenhouse products with IL-18, AN-12 and TU-154 aircraft, received a very powerful development, and in 1972 alone more than 5,000 tons were transported. On April 18, 1978, the IL-76, which could carry 40 tons of payload, landed for the first time.
Domestic scheduled flights were discontinued in 1980, but winter charters continue to increase. This led to the new relocation of Plovdiv Airport - in the area of the village of Krumovo, between Plovdiv and Asenovgrad. A reception building, a technical block, a power building, an Air Traffic Management building, as well as a Flight Management Tower were built.
On December 18, 1982, the first TU-134 aircraft with a charter flight from Amsterdam landed, which started a new chapter in the history of the Plovdiv Airport.
In 2007, it reached a record 104,130 passengers. During this period there was an increase in charters to Malta, Belfast, London, Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle, Cardiff, Cork and others.
On February 23, 2009 the first sod of a new passenger terminal was made, through which 500 thousand passengers could be served annually. The cost of the construction was BGN 45 million, which includes the construction of four new aircraft stands (there are 12 of them that way), a new taxiway, a parking lot and a treatment plant. The terminal was designed by architect Petko Yovchev.
In August 2009, the new reception building, equipped with 10 check-in counters for handling departing passengers and the extended platform, started operating.
The landing of the Boeing 737-800 from London (Stansted Airport) on November 3, 2010 started the first year-round international passenger flights to and from Plovdiv Airport.
Ryanair currently operates regular flights to Dublin and London (Stansted), while the other low-cost carrier operating at the airport, Wizz Air, flies to Luton, Memmingen and Dortmund. Regular lines from Plovdiv to Bursa and Istanbul are also about to be opened. By the end of the year, the negotiations for the restoration of the lines to Milan, Brussels, Barcelona and Frankfurt for next year's summer season are expected to conclude. The airport's development plans include launching charter flights from Plovdiv to Antalya, Bodrum, Cappadocia and Egypt.
A direct transport connection between the airport and Plovdiv operated by a private carrier has been operating since June. The shuttle buses depart from the stop on Hristo Botev Blvd., opposite the Yug bus station, two and a half hours before each flight. They then wait for passengers from the arriving flight 30 minutes after landing and transport them to the city. The price is BGN 10 per person and must be paid on the spot. You can follow the schedule on the company's website.
A regular bus line from the city is also expected to open, but a public tender for the selection of a carrier has not yet been announced.
The most convenient way for the moment remains, especially if you are more than one passenger, the use of taxis from Plovdiv. The rate would be around BGN 17-20 depending on the part of the city that is the starting or final destination.