A summary presentation in three panels:
1. Establishment of the NPA Fund for the Development of Plovdiv Airport – The Southern Gate of Bulgaria. The association was founded by three municipalities – Rodopi Municipality, Hisar Municipality, and Asenovgrad Municipality in the distant 2010. Foals of the association:
– Development of civil society and raising the quality of life of the residents of the city of Plovdiv, the South-Central region, and the neighboring areas, through financial and logistical support for initiatives and undertakings in the following fields: tourism development through support and promotion of local culture, spiritual and historical heritage, environmental protection and preservation of cultural monuments, development of the economic and transport infrastructure of the region.
– Improvement of the investment environment and attraction of foreign and Bulgarian investors in the development of large sites of importance for the development of tourism.
– Increasing the competitiveness of local business in the city of Plovdiv and the entire South-Central region, and providing financial and logistical support for initiatives and undertakings in the field of the application of new and advanced technologies in the economy of the region, and the development of modern transport infrastructure.
– Initiate collaboration between all stakeholders to identify and address the ever-changing needs of the South-Central region local economy.
– Ensuring an accessible and favorable urban environment for guests and residents of the city of Plovdiv and other cities in the region.
Means of achieving the goals:
– subsidizing the maintenance of regular air routes from/to Plovdiv Airport. For this purpose, the association, with the assistance of Plovdiv Airport" EAD, in its capacity of an official consultant, will negotiate directly or announce tenders, but not under the Civil Aviation Act, for the desired routes from/to Plovdiv, and the number of flights on a weekly basis.
– financial support for publications in the country and abroad promoting tourist sites and the culture, history, and spirit of the region
– financial support for organizing advertising campaigns in foreign countries
– financial support for the development of transport connections in the South-Central region
- The members of the association make a mandatory annual contribution to achieve the goals of the association in an amount of no less than the number of the population of the respective municipality according to the national database multiplied by BGN 1.00 (one) by the first day of May of each calendar year.
2. Development and results. After its foundation, the idea of the association gained strong popularity and by 2015 the members of the association gradually increased to eleven municipalities, including Plovdiv, and the articles of association provided the option for the participation of companies in addition to municipalities – which was the initial idea of the founders in 2010. Thanks to the intensive joint work of the airport and the fund in 2010 the first contract in the airport's history for permanent year-round flights with RYANAIR was executed. Initially, the airline operations started with only one destination – London, and over the years RYANAIR has diversified this approach and saturated the airport with more destinations. It is important to note that since the start of the contract with RYANAIR in 2010 the airline has never stopped operations at Plovdiv Airport, which appeared as a sure and clear guarantee for WIZZAIR, which also started permanent and year-round air routes from Plovdiv Airport in 2021. Thanks to the two airlines, for the first time in its history, Plovdiv Airport handles 14 flights a week to four European destinations and in 2022 is expected the largest number of passengers traveling through the airport since its establishment.
3. Current situation. As of 2015 and onwards, the operations of the fund gradually decreased and the initial impetus of development ideas has decreased due to various factors, including several municipalities leaving the association. At the moment, the re-registration of the NPA Fund for the Development of Plovdiv Airport – The Southern Gate of Bulgaria has been completed in the Commercial Register and the Register of NPLE, and essentially its operations have been restored, from a legal point of view. The governing body of the fund consists of Rodopi Municipality, Plovdiv Municipality, and Chepelare Municipality, which manage the annual contributions of eight municipalities – Kaloyanovo, Sopot, Kuklen, Sadovo, and Parvomai in addition to those listed above.