Balkan Bulgarian Airlines
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Balkan Airlines (Bulgarian: Балкан) was Bulgaria's government-owned flag carrier between 1947 and 2002. During the 1970s, the airliner became a significant European carrier. The company encountered financial instability following the fall of communism in Central and Eastern Europe. Despite managing to continue operations, following the start of the 21st century and a controversial privatisation, it declared bankruptcy in 2002. Balkan was liquidated in late October 2002 . Bulgaria Air was appointed Balkan's successor in December 2002 .
|Founded||29 June 1947|
|Commenced operations||July 1947|
Bulgaria had a short-lived airline (Bunavad) in 1927, yet the country could not afford investing in modern air transport until after World War II. In 1946, the Ministry of Transport and Communications formed an Administration of Air Communications (Bulgarian: Дирекция на въздушните съобщения (ДВС), Direkcia na vazdushnite saobshtenia (DVS)). Since Bulgaria was regarded as a combatant on the defeated Axis side, the DVS could only contract with France for the supply of several Atelier d'Avions Coulombe Toucan aircraft (French-built versions of the Junkers Ju 52). In interpretation of their delivery, Bulgarian airmen practised by flying the nation's first long-distance flights: to Paris, transporting government officials to peace negotiations, being conducted there. These flights used German-built Ju 52 aircraft (Bulgarian service designation Сова or Sova, = Owl), delivered before the war to the На Негово Величество Въздушни войски [НВВВ] or His majesty's Air Force, and captured during the war from retreating German forces.
DVS officially launched services under the Bulgarian Air Lines (Bulgarian: Български въздушни линии, Balgarski vazdushni linii) name on 29 June 1947 with a Ju 52 flight from Sofia via Plovdiv to Burgas. Other services soon followed. By the close of the year, the DVS had ordered several Soviet-built Lisunov Li-2 variants of the Douglas DC-3 and at least 13 were operated until 1968. The Soviet forces stationed in Bulgaria took interest in DVS, and by late 1947, had taken DVS into joint ownership, as had been done with all airlines of East-European countries formerly allied with Nazi Germany. The resulting airline was called TABSO (Bulgarian: ТАБСО), an acronym for "Transportno-aviacionno balgaro-savetsko obedinenie" (Bulgarian: Транспортно-авиационно българо-съветско обединение, Bulgarian-Soviet Transport Aviation Corporation). The Ju 52s gradually phased out from service as TABSO re-equipped with Li-2s. These more modern planes allowed the airline to expand services.
The 1950s and 1960sEdit
Soviet equity in TABSO was reacquired by the Bulgarian government in 1954.:788 The airline with this brand name survived until the end of 1967, often in the shadow of the headline phrase Bulgarian Air Transport. In 1956, TABSO bought its first Ilyushin Il-14 aircraft. These aircraft, along with Li-2s, were deployed on services to seven domestic destinations, including Burgas, Gorna Oryahovitsa, Ruschuk, Plovdiv, Sofia, Stara Zagora and Varna; and international destinations Amsterdam, Athens, Beirut, Belgrade, Berlin, Bucharest, Budapest, Damascus, Frankfurt, Kiev, Moscow, Odessa, Prague, Vienna and Warsaw.:788
In 1962, it began services with the Ilyushin Il-18; these and the expansion of Bulgaria's inclusive-tour tourism industry began to put the airline's name on the European and world map. The turboprop type crossed the Equator to Kenya and the Atlantic to Peru. By 1967, Antonov An-24s had arrived for domestic and regional flights. By the mid-1960s, tourism was a major hard currency earner for Bulgaria and TABSO faced home-grown competition. Executives of the Teksim trading company had decided to start their own aviation business which included crop-spraying and inclusive-tour charter airline operations under the name of Булер (Bulair). Despite trying to buy Sud Aviation Caravelle jet airliners, Bulair ended up buying more Il-18s turboprops under heavy Soviet and Bulgarian political pressure. These were operated to several Western European countries to bring holiday makers to Bulgarian resorts.
The Teksim venture proved a success and a thorn in the side of TABSO. By 1967, TABSO had the inside track in government circles, and the Teksim operation was largely disbanded by 1970. Amid rumours of scandal and embezzling several Teksim directors were sent to jail, accused of performing capitalism-ruled economic behaviour. Their venture had operated under the TABSO banner for reasons of expediency (not least international rights). The last Bulair-branded aircraft had been rebranded as TABSO machines by 1972.
The carrier bought three Tupolev Tu-134 jets in late 1967. On 1 January 1968,[disputed ] TABSO was rebranded Balkan Bulgarian Airlines (Bulgarian: Балкан – Български въздушни линии, Balkan – Bulgarski vazdushni linii).[additional citation(s) needed] The wider commercial aviation scene was put under Balkan's control via subsidiaries such as the aforementioned Bulair, Селскостопанска авиация [ССА] or Selskostopanska aviacia [SSA] (the Agricultural Aviation Company) and a separate profit centre which performed ad-hoc aviation contracting, mostly with helicopters.
The first Tu-134 was put into service in November 1968London. The airline became the first foreign customer of the type,:31 leading to a close association with the Tupolev design bureau that lasted two decades. There were several reasons why Bulgaria was allowed to put a new Soviet type into service ahead of more important Soviet-bloc nations. Andrei Tupolev was President of the Soviet-Bulgarian Society. He had cemented personal links with his Bulgarian counterpart, formidable wartime Resistance figure and Politburo member Tsola Dragoycheva. She lobbied him for delivery preferences in return for campaigning before the Bulgarian authorities to buy his products rather than Western or other Soviet aircraft types. Indeed, Balkan never bought the Ilyushin Il-62 long-range airliner, preferring to misuse its Tu-154s for long-range work. Similarly, it eschewed Ilyushin's Il-86 wide-body despite arguably having the precise role for it on its sea or ski charter flights., initially flying scheduled services between Sofia and
At March 1970Z-37 Cmelaks and Mil helicopters. Lazar Beloukhov was the general manager. On 18 January 1971, an Ilyushin Il-18 crashed and caught fire while attempting to land at Kloten Airport in fog; only two people survived the crash. During 1971, Balkan was the first airline beyond the USSR borders to operate the Tupolev Tu-134A.:31 On 21 December, the crash of another Il-18 during takeoff left 28 fatalities., Balkan served 22 countries in Africa, Asia and Europe plus nine domestic destinations. At this time, the fleet included Antonov An-2s, An-10s and An-24Bs, Ilyushin Il-14s and Il-18s, Tupolev Tu-134s,
Again in 1972, this time with the Tupolev Tu-154, the carrier became the first foreign customer to incorporate a new Tupolev aircraft into its fleet.:31 The latter type was deployed first on charter flights, and later on scheduled services. By November the same year, Balkan had two of these aircraft in service.:708 It also launched non-Soviet use of the Tu-154A, Tu-154B, Tu-154B-2 and Tu-154M.[when?] Balkan was a useful test-bed for new ideas by the Tupolev bureau. The airline pioneered the use of three-person flightdeck crews on the Tu-154 by removing navigators (flight crew members whom the designers had intentionally inserted into the Tu-134 and Tu-154) between 1972 and 1976. Balkan also removed the Tu-154's concrete ballast trim on which conservative Tupolev engineers had insisted. In the mid-1980s, a team of Bulgarian engineers interlinked the automatic flight control systems of the airline's Tu-154s with OMEGA Navigation System receivers, enabling very accurate automatic long-range overwater navigation. In the 1990s, Balkan was among the first to fit GPS navigation to its Tu-154 fleet. A Tu-154B was flown non-stop from Montreal to Sofia, a distance of over 7,000 km (4,300 mi) and a record for the type, during a charter flight.
As the Soviet-bloc economies gradually entered into stagnation in the 1970s, Balkan continued growing apace.[additional citation(s) needed] In 1974, the airline's route network was 74,500 miles (119,900 km) long. By the mid/late 1970s, it was carrying three million passengers a year, more than any Soviet-bloc airline other than some Directorates of Aeroflot. The fleet comprised[when?] aforementioned types plus Antonov An-12s for cargo (since late 1969) and Yakovlev Yak-40 regional jets for short-haul routes (since 1974). The comprehensive route system covered Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. With the delivery of more Tu-154s, Balkan opened longer-range routes, including ones to Zimbabwe, Angola and Nigeria in sub-Equatorial Africa, and to Sri Lanka and Vietnam in Southern Asia.
In 1986, Balkan was restructured as part of a wholesale shakeup of the late Socialist economy in an attempt to make it more productive and manageable. The airline was divorced from functions such as running airports. It had suffered disastrous traffic falls after the Comecon fuel crisis of 1979, when the number of passengers carried collapsed to under a million. By the late 1980s, loads were back up to 1970s levels. Of the three million annual passengers, a third were carried on domestic services, another third on charter flights, and the remaining million on scheduled international routes.
Balkan joined the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in 1988, becoming its 175th member worldwide. On 10 November 1989, Bulgaria's long-ruling leader Todor Zhivkov was removed from power and Bulgaria began moving away from the Soviet bloc. Within a year, Balkan had been restructured yet again, with Hemus Air emerging from within it as a "second force" state-owned airline with mainly domestic and regional flights. Private airlines began to appear, most important among them Singapore-backed Jes Air which launched services to New York and Singapore using Airbus A310s.
By mid-1991, Balkan had leased two Boeing 767-200ERs from Air France to compete with failing Jes Air on North American and Southern Asian routes. At the same time Balkan acquired four Airbus A320s from Oryx. The Soviet-build types remained in service alongside the new arrivals.
The 1990s were a time of headlong decline at Balkan. The airline suffered in Bulgaria's transition to a market economy. Former managers of state-owned industry began forming private companies to supply the industries they had once managed (at high prices), and yet other private companies to purchase their production (at low prices). The aim was to control both supply and sales, charging high prices and paying low prices to strangle state companies and then privatise them at very low prices. The entire Bulgarian economy was in deep recession. This was due to severe political instability at home and protracted wars and economic sanctions in neighbouring Yugoslavia. These factors upset potential investment and tourism and cut off Bulgaria from many trading partners.
In March 1995Antonov An-12Fs, fourteen Antonov An-24s, three Boeing 737-500s, two Boeing 767-200ERs, six Ilyushin Il-18s, five Tupolev Tu-134A-3s, fifteen Tupolev Tu-154B-2s and seven Tupolev Tu-154Ms. At this time, the company had 3,889 employees and the route network included 52 destinations. By 1998, Balkan's 767s returned to Air France and the A320s were passed on to other lessees. The Tu-154B fleet was overdue for replacement, and the Tu-154M was aging. Bulgaria's government appeared to pledge some funds for Airbus A310 acquisition so that long-range services could be sustained, but nothing came of this., Balkan had a fleet of four Airbus A320-200s, three
Late in 1998, the company was ready to be sold to a holding named Balkan Air, comprising Bulgarian and US investors, but the transaction was later suspended. All through the decade, there had been rumours of investor interest in Balkan. These rumours consistently named Russian and German airline interests which were said to be eager to buy the carrier. There was also lobbying by the airline's managers for a management buyout. Nevertheless, a consortium comprising two Israeli companies —the Zeevi investment group and Knafaim-Arkia (the owner of Arkia Israel Airlines) — was assigned a 75 percent stake in Balkan Bulgarian in mid-1999 for a bargain price of US$150,000, with the commitment of investing US$100 million in the airline over the following ten years. Arkia left the consortium once title in the airline was transferred. It was disclosed in 2001 that Balkan had been declared bankrupt months prior to the sale.
2000 and beyondEdit
Balkan had 3,889 employees at March 2000Boeing 737-300s and three 737-500s; an Ilyushin Il-18 and an Il-18D; three Let L 410 UVP-Es; and fourteen Tupolev Tu-154Bs and ten Tu-154Ms. These operated services to Abu Dhabi, Accra, Algiers, Amsterdam, Athens, Bahrain, Bangkok, Belgrade, Berlin, Bourgas, Brussels, Budapest, Cairo, Casablanca, Chisinau, Colombo, Copenhagen, Dubai, Frankfurt, Helsinki, Istanbul, Kiev, Kuwait, Lagos, Larnaca, London, Madrid, Male, Malta, Milan, Moscow, Paris, Prague, Rome, Sofia, Stockholm, Tehran, Tel Aviv, Tripoli, Varna, Vienna, Warsaw and Zürich. The Israeli connection led to difficulties in operating the Arab routes. Its assets seemed to be being sold-off in an asset-stripping manner and by early 2001, Balkan's fleet was not even up to the task of meeting the airline's summer charter commitments, despite taking on some used 737-300s.[additional citation(s) needed] In February 2001 , the Zeevi group ceased funding the carrier and initiated legal action against the Bulgarian government over a US$100 million debt. Although the company was grounded and entered receivership, it resumed flying later that year.. At this time, the fleet included three Antonov An-12s; six Antonov An-24Bs and an An-24RV; two
Short of cash, in 2002 Balkan's six weekly slots for Heathrow airport were sold to British Airways for US$6 million. In October that year, creditors turned down a restructuring plan and voted for the closure of the airline, which was liquidated. The number of employees at the time of closure was 1,269. Balkan was succeeded as Bulgaria's national carrier by the newly formed Bulgaria Air.
Until 1990, Balkan's signs were carried both by normal airliners and special government detachment, agricultural aviation, sanitary wings, cargo planes. Here follows the fleet except An-2 /281 pieces/ and Ка-26, as well as civil Mi-8s /17 pieces/, Mi-17 /1 piece/, Mi-2, training L-410s.
|Zlin Z-37 Cmelak||Unknown||—||—||—|
Accidents and incidentsEdit
As of August 2012[update], Aviation Safety Network records 15 occurrences and four hijackings for Balkan, and two fatal accidents plus one hijacking for TABSO. Only events that led to fatalities, wrote off the aircraft involved, or both, are presented in the list below.
|Date||Location||Airline||Aircraft||Tail number||Aircraft damage||Fatalities||Description||Refs|
|30 June 1948||Istanbul||TABSO||Ju 52||Unknown||None||1||The aircraft was hijacked en route a domestic scheduled Varna–Sofia passenger service and flown to Istanbul.|||
|22 November 1952||Sofia||TABSO||Li-2P||LZ-TUE||W/O||30/30||Struck mountainous terrain shortly after departing Vrazhdebna Airport. It was due to operate a domestic scheduled Sofia–Gorna Orechovitsa–Varna passenger flight.|||
|24 November 1966||Bratislava||TABSO||Il-18V||LZ-BEN||W/O||82/82||During final destination, the aircraft was operating the Budapest–Prague leg of Flight 101. Bad weather at Prague forced a temporary diversion to Bratislava. The plane was cleared to continue to Prague as weather there improved, but it crashed shortly after takeoff from Ivanka Airport.|||
|3 September 1968||Bourgas||Bulair||Il-18E||LZ-BEG||W/O||47/89||The flight, on TABSCO's subsidiary, Bulair, crashed in poor weather during its approach to the Bourgas Airport while bringing East German tourists from Dresden, and the crew deviated from its assigned altitude of 2400m and "flew into the ground".|||
|18 January 1971||Zurich||Balkan||Il-18D||LZ-BED||W/O||45/47||Inbound from Paris on a scheduled international flight, the plane approached Zurich Airport in fog below the glideslope, 0.7 kilometres (0.43 mi) north of the airport. Both the left wingtip and landing gear contacted the ground, and burst into flames.|||
|21 December 1971||Sofia||Balkan||Il-18||Unknown||Unknown||28/73||Crashed on takeoff.|||
|4 November 1972||Cruncha||Balkan||Il-14P||LZ-ILA||W/O||35/35||The aircraft was completing a domestic scheduled Bourgas–Sofia passenger service when it flew into mountainous terrain, in adverse weather, on approach to Vrazhdebna Airport.|||
|3 March 1973||Moscow||Balkan||Il-18V||LZ-BEM||W/O||25/25||Nosedived during second approach attempt to Sheremetyevo Airport, crashedand burst into flames, probably because of tail icing. The aircraft was on a scheduled Sofia–Moscow flight as Flight 307.|||
|22 November 1975||Sofia||Balkan||An-24B||LZ-ANA||W/O||3/45||Unable to gain height following takeoff from Vrazhdebna Airport, the aircraft slid down a ravine and ended up in the Iskar River.|||
|December 1975||Kufrah||Balkan||An-12B||LZ-BAA||W/O||0||Overran the runway on landing at Kufrah Airport.|||
|16 March 1978||Gabare||Balkan||Tu-134||LZ-TUB||W/O||73/73||Struck the ground while en route during a scheduled international Sofia–Warsaw passenger flight crashed during an abnormal descent. The accident remains the Bulgaria's deadliest.|||
|23 March 1978||Damascus||Balkan||Tu-154||LZ-BTB||W/O||4/4||Hit high ground 22.5 kilometres (14.0 mi) northeast of Damascus on approach to the city airport.|||
|10 January 1984||Sofia||Balkan||Tu-134A||LZ-TUR||W/O||50/50||Inbound from Berlin on an international scheduled passenger service, the aircraft struck power lines on approach to Vrazhdebna Airport in heavy snow, crashing 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) short of the runway.|||
|16 June 1984||Sana'a||Balkan||Il-18V||LZ-BEP||W/O||0/18||Overran the runway at Sana'a International Airport following a nosegear-first landing.|||
|24 August 1984||Addis Ababa||Balkan||An-12B||LZ-BAD||W/O||0/9||Overran the runway upon landing at Bole International Airport.|||
|2 August 1988||Sofia||Balkan||Yak-40||LZ-DOK||W/O||29/37||Aborted takeoff due to an engine fire; twenty-three passengers and four crewmembers lost their lives on-site and an additional five more passengers perished at hospital. The Soviet consul in Varna was among the victims. The aircraft was due to operate a Sofia–Varna service.|||
|5 June 1992||Varna||Balkan||Tu-154B||LZ-BTD||W/O||0/130||The aircraft made a long landing at Varna Airport and the nosegear collapsed as it ran off the runway. The aircraft was completing an unscheduled Stockholm–Varna passenger flight.|||
|28 July 1992||Sofia||Balkan||An-24B||LZ-ANN||W/O||0||Damaged by a crane at Sofia Airport.|||
|Unknown||Sofia||Balkan||Avia 14||LZ-ILG||W/O||0||Destroyed while undergoing maintenance at Vrazhdebna Airport.|||
|Unknown||Provadia||Balkan||Avia 14 Super||LZ-ILF||W/O||Unknown||Crashed under unspecified circumstances.|||
- "World Airline Directory – Balkan Bulgarian Airlines". Flight International: 57. 28 March – 3 April 2000. Archived from the original on 28 July 2012. Retrieved 28 July 2012.
- "Синдиците на "Балкан" издадоха заповед за прекратяване на полетите на авиокомпанията" [An order to stop all Balkan flights was issued] (in Bulgarian). Econ.bg. 30 October 2002. Archived from the original on 8 July 2013.
- Gradidge 2006, p 167
- "World airline directory—TABSO – Bulgarian Civil Air Transport". Flight: 548. 18 April 1958. Archived from the original on 12 January 2013. Retrieved 12 January 2013.
- Google Maps reference for spelling
- Google Maps reference for modern-era naming
- Google Maps reference for spelling
- "TABSO Buys Jets". Flight International: 867. 30 November 1967. Archived from the original on 27 July 2012. Retrieved 27 July 2012.
- "New Name for TABSO". Flight International: 442. 28 March 1968. Archived from the original on 1 August 2012.
- "World airlines 1970 – Balkan Bulgarian Air Transport". Flight International: 474. 26 March 1970. Archived from the original on 28 July 2012.
- "Air Transport". Flight International. 99 (3229): 126. 28 January 1971. Archived from the original on 26 July 2012.
An Ilyushin Il-18 of Balkan Bulgarian crashed and caught fire while attempting an instrument landing in fog at Kloten Airport, Zurich, on January 18. Of the 39 passengers and eight crew, only a 12-year-old boy and the captain survived. The aircraft was on a scheduled flight from Paris and was due to proceed to Sofia.
- "Sofia crash". Flight International: 13. 6 January 1972. Archived from the original on 26 July 2012.
- "Air Transport". Flight International: 637. 9 November 1972. Archived from the original on 26 July 2012.
The airline introduced the Tu-154 earlier this year, first on charters and later on scheduled services.
- "Commercial Aircraft survey–Tupolev Tu-154 (page 707)". Flight International: 707–708. 16 November 1972. Archived from the original on 26 July 2012.
- "Commercial Aircraft survey–Tupolev Tu-154 (page 708)". Flight International. Archived from the original on 26 July 2012.
- "Air Transport". Flight International: 262. 5 September 1974. Archived from the original on 26 July 2012. Retrieved 26 July 2012.
Balkan Bulgarian Airlines carried 677,700 passengers and 18,600 tonnes of freight and generated 116-4 million tonne-kilometres, an increase of 5.8 per cent.
- "Air Transport". Flight International: 325. 27 February 1975. Archived from the original on 26 July 2012. Retrieved 26 July 2012.
Balkan Bulgarian Airlines is now flying over 74,500 route miles and carried 443,000 charter passengers last year.
- "Aeroflot poised to join Iata". Flight International: 9. 3 December 1988. Archived from the original on 27 July 2012. Retrieved 27 July 2012.
- Albrecht Schnabel (2001). Southeast European Security: Threats, Responses, Challenges. Nova Publishers. p. 79. ISBN 978-1-59033-097-5.
- "World airline directory – Balkan Bulgarian Airlines". Flight International: 58. 29 March – 4 April 1995. ISSN 0015-3710. Archived from the original on 11 November 2013.
- "Balkan and Malev face sale". Flightglobal.com. Airline Business. 1 November 1998. Archived from the original on 1 September 2012. Retrieved 4 September 2012.
- "Balkan sale mysteriously delayed". Flightglobal.com. Airline Business. 1 December 1998. Archived from the original on 1 September 2012. Retrieved 4 September 2012.
- Doyle, Andrew; Egozi, Arie (6 March 2001). "Cuts at Tarom as Zeevi plots Balkan rescue". Flightglobal.com. Flight International. Archived from the original on 1 September 2012. Retrieved 4 September 2012.
- "Israelis take stake in Balkan Bulgarian". Flightglobal.com. Flight International. 7 July 1999. Archived from the original on 25 July 2012. Retrieved 21 August 2012.
- "Balkan pull-out". Flightglobal.com. Flight International. 6 October 1999. Archived from the original on 21 August 2012. Retrieved 21 August 2012.
- "Balkan declared bankrupt in 1998, court reveals". Flightglobal.com. Flight International. 20 March 2001. Archived from the original on 1 September 2012. Retrieved 4 September 2012.
- Bennett, Peter (1 August 1999). "Arkia move sparks Arab backlash". Vienna: Flightglobal.com. Airline Business. Archived from the original on 21 August 2012. Retrieved 21 August 2012.
- "Balkan faces Arab boycott". Flightglobal.com. Flight International. 21 July 1999. Archived from the original on 21 August 2012. Retrieved 21 August 2012.
- Egozi, Arie (15 August 2000). "Balkan prepares for fleet revamp to achieve profit". Tel Aviv: Flightglobal.com. Flight International. Archived from the original on 1 September 2012. Retrieved 4 September 2012.
- "Zeevi pulls plug on grounded Balkan Bulgarian". Flightglobal.com. 20 February 2001. Archived from the original on 28 July 2012. Retrieved 28 July 2012.
- "Bulgarian airline grounded by debts". BBC News. 14 February 2001. Archived from the original on 28 July 2012. Retrieved 28 July 2012.
- "Balkan begins to resurrect flights under receiver". Flightglobal.com. Flight International. 29 May 2001. Archived from the original on 28 July 2012. Retrieved 28 July 2012.
- "Balkan looks to restart". Flightglobal.com. Airline Business. 1 May 2001. Archived from the original on 28 July 2012. Retrieved 28 July 2012.
- "Trustees nominated for grounded Balkan". Flightglobal.com. Flight International. 27 February 2001. Archived from the original on 28 July 2012. Retrieved 28 July 2012.
- Salinger, Igor (12 November 2002). "Balkan Air Tour earns new status". Belgrade: Flightglobal.com. Flight International. Archived from the original on 28 July 2012. Retrieved 28 July 2012.
- "След отхвърлянето на оздравителния план за "Балкан" следва ликвидация" (in Bulgarian). Econ.bg. 29 October 2002. Archived from the original on 8 July 2013.
- "Bulgarian government seals Balkan's fate". Flightglobal.com. Flight International. 5 November 2002. Archived from the original on 21 August 2012. Retrieved 21 August 2012.
- "Bulgaria in second bid for airline investment". Flightglobal.com. Flight International. 7 September 2004. Archived from the original on 26 July 2012. Retrieved 26 July 2012.
Bulgaria Air was established as the successor to Balkan in December 2002 and operates seven Boeing 737-300s and one 737-500 on scheduled and charter services within Europe and to the Middle East.
- ""Балкан Еър Тур" ще бъде новият национален превозвач на България" [Balkan Air Tour to be the new flag carrier of Bulgaria] (in Bulgarian). Econ.bg. 30 October 2002. Archived from the original on 8 July 2013.
- "World airline directory – Balkan Bulgarian Airlines (page 291)". Flight International: 291–292. 26 July 1980. Archived from the original on 28 July 2012. Retrieved 28 July 2012.
- "World airline directory – Balkan Bulgarian Airlines (page 292)". Flight International. Archived from the original on 28 July 2012. Retrieved 28 July 2012.
- "World Airline Directory – Balkan Bulgarian Airlines". Flight International: 76. 14 March 1990 – 20 March 2000. Archived from the original on 28 July 2012. Retrieved 28 July 2012.
- "Accident record for Balkan Bulgarian Airlines". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 10 August 2012.
- "Accident record for TABSO". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
- Hijacking description at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 24 August 2012.
- Accident description for LZ-TUE at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 25 July 2012.
- Accident description for LZ-BEN at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 24 August 2012.
- Accident description for LZ-BEG at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 14 March 2018.
- Accident description for LZ-BED at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 25 July 2012.
- Accident description for LZ-ILA at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 16 August 2012.
- Accident description for LZ-BEM at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 25 July 2012.
- Accident description for LZ-ANA at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 14 August 2012.
- "Public-transport accidents". Flight International: 778. 27 November 1975. Archived from the original on 14 August 2012. Retrieved 14 August 2012.
An An-24 of Balkan-Bulgarian Airlines crashed on take-off from Sofia on 22 November while departing for Varna. 2 people were killed.
- Accident description for LZ-BAA at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 14 August 2012.
- Accident description for LZ-TUB at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 26 July 2012.
- "Airline accident". Flight International: 832. 25 March 1978. Archived from the original on 26 July 2012. Retrieved 26 July 2012.
- Accident description for LZ-BTB at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 9 August 2012.
- Accident description for LZ-TUR at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 9 August 2012.
- Accident description for LZ-BEP at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 11 August 2012.
- Accident description for LZ-BAD at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 10 August 2012.
- "Casualties". Flight International. 134 (4129): 38. 3 September 1988. ISSN 0015-3710. Archived from the original on 11 July 2014.
On August 2 a Balkan Airlines Yakovlev Yak-40 en route from Sofia to Varna aborted its take-off on rotation due to an engine failure caused by fire. Despite intervention by rescue crews, 23 of the 33 passengers and 4 crew died, one of them the Soviet consul in Varna. An additional 5 people died later in hospital.
- Accident description for LZ-BTD at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 10 August 2012.
- Incident description for LZ-ANN at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 9 August 2012.
- Indicent description for LZ-ILG at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 25 July 2012.
- Accident description for LZ-ILF at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 9 August 2012.