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Bulgaria’s Schengen Air Accession: Passengers Enjoy 20 to 40 Minutes Less Flight Time in Inaugural Week


Passengers have saved between 20 to 40 minutes per flight during the first week of Bulgaria’s partial accession to the Schengen Area.

Such statistics have been revealed by the Deputy Transport Minister Anna Natova at an event organised by the Association of the Bulgarian Aviation Industry (ABAI), SchengenVisaInfo reports.

According to the Bulgarian News Agency, the event celebrated Bulgaria’s accession to the EU’s Schengen Zone by air and sea with a symbolic flight from April 4 to 7 that took place in several Schengen countries, organised by the Association.

Shortening of the waiting time and inspections is a serious reason to increase the interest in Bulgaria as a business and tourist destination.

Deputy Transport Minister Anna Natova

Welcoming the “Bulgarian Schengen ambassadors” she said that the project has fulfilled its goal to draw the attention of Europeans to Sofia’s accession to the passport-free zone of the EU.

“Bulgaria  Is Now More Easy Accessible for Other Schengen Countries”

The implementation of this flight, according to the Deputy Transport Minister, aims to show that the Balkan country is already part of an “air Schengen” and is becoming more easily accessible to all countries in the bloc.

She stressed that the abolition of air and sea border controls between Bulgaria and other Schengen Area countries is only a preparatory step for lifting controls at land borders as well.

Since March 31, Bulgaria is part of the Schengen Area by air and sea, meaning that travellers are no longer subject to controls for air and sea travel. However, controls at land borders continue to remain effective.

According to the Director General of Bulgaria’s Civil Aviation Administration, Anelia Marinova,  the recent flight symbolises Bulgaria’s progress towards joining the Schengen area.

Agriculture Minister Kiril Vatev, Innovation Minister Milena Stoycheva, and representatives from the private sector also participated in this event.

Demonstrating Eligibility for Schengen Membership

Ahead of Schengen partial accession, the four international airports in Bulgaria, Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna and Burgas expressed their readiness to operate as part of the Schengen Zone from March 31.

The last border control for travellers to Schengen countries at Sofia Airport was carried out at 23:59 on March 30.

Effectively from this date all citizens arriving from Schengen member states will not be subject to passport control.

Kalin Stoyanov, outgoing Minister of Interior

Announcing the new changes, Stoyanov said that in the coming months a decision regarding Schengen accession in terms of land borders is yet to be negotiated.

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