The first regular domestic airline in Bulgaria was started in 1947 between Sofia and Burgass, shortly followed by Sofia – Varna airline. At the end of the same year the beginning of the international air transport was set by launching the Sofia – Budapest airline. In 1946 the air company Balkan was founded, which after its bankruptcy, was renamed and reorganized into Bulgarian Air, which is the national air transporter up to this moment.
During the 90s, the low-cost air companies made their appearance and revolutionized the air transportation gradually getting ahead of the traditional airline companies which were leaders on the market so far.
The low-cost airline companies offer air transport at low fares due to the trimming of the usual services offered by the traditional airlines – no fixed seats onboard; no economy, business and first class separation; no food and drinks served onboard, unless paid for by the passengers in addition; no loyalty programmes; usage of secondary airports; unpopular timings of the flights.
The typical advertising strategy of low-cost airlines is to present the ticket price in chunks – one price for the ticket and one price for the airport fares and taxes, thus seducing the customers with prices of 1 Euro per ticket.
One of the most popular low-cost airline nowadays, the Irish Ryanair, stated at the beginning of July 2009 that it transferred 5.8 million passengers during June the same year – two times more than British Airways for the same period, considered one of the giants in air transport.
Is air transport eco friendly?
According to the Chicago treaty from 1945, which sets the foundations of the contemporary air transport, the airplane fuel doesn’t go under the obligation of taxation. This inevitably urged the air transport development after the Second World War, but nowadays this fact is considered more and more as a contribution to destroying the environment than as an incentive for development.
Although air transport produces less than 5% of the greenhouse gases, it is planned to be included into the Emission trading system. The plan is that by 2012, the air transport emissions to be reduced with 3%, and after 2013 with 5%.
Few airline companies are planning to use in the near future bio fuel (bio kerosene) in passenger air transport as an alternative to the current ones being in use. At the beginning it could be mixed up with the traditional fuel, but it will reduce the emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the usage of natural resources and the cutting down of forests. The requirements to the new alternative fuel are very high. The bio kerosene needs to burn well, not to change its characteristics under the extreme conditions during the flight and to be suitable for mass produce. The advantages of the organic energy resources derived under water in comparison to the plants, cultivated on the ground are that seaweed grow extremely fast and could be grown in large stocks. For comparison: in order to transfer one passenger from America to Europe there will be needed half hectare of soya plantation.
Another problem, concerning citizens living close to airports is the irritating noise from departing and arriving airplanes. It could be reduced in several ways – to introduce in exploitation less noisy airplane engines, introducing new flight procedures and airways, so that the noise is significantly reduced; noise isolating panes to be built, noise isolation to be put on the buildings, a shelter belt of high wood vegetation to be planted, etc.