The rise and fall of Balkan Bulgarian Airlines

A Soviet Bloc powerhouse with a modest fleet and big ambitions, Balkan appeared to have it sussed. That was until communism collapsed and privatisation prevailed. Alex Mladenov recounts the story of the Bulgarian airline from boom to bust

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Tupolev Tu-154s were deployed on many of Balkan’s European, North African and Middle Eastern links
AIRTEAMIMAGES.COM/ BOB ROBINSON

Bulgaria’s Balkan is well known as a thriving flag carrier of Eastern Europe’s Communist era. However, it proved ill-suited to cope with the challenges faced after that time – not long after the loss of its all-important government support, the airline went broke. So, where did it all go wrong?

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