Kristian Krastev: Bulgaria Could Benefit from Russian Airspace Ban
Bulgaria would gain immediate profit from a potential decision of Moscow to keep Western carriers away from its airspace, a former Transport Minister has argued.
Kristian Krastev, who had the portfolio in the 2013 caretaker government, has told public broadcaster BNR that if EU operators are prevented from flying over Russia, part of the air traffic would be diverted to the Balkan Peninsula and, inevitably, to Bulgaria.
EU companies have to pay some USD 30 M monthly to use current eastward routes, and Russian operator Aeroflot's revenues from Europe alone amount to USD 300 M every year, Krastev estimates.
Prices of flight tickets will also soar if alternative routes are to be sought, though.
Flying over Russia makes it 4000 km shorter and 3.5 hours faster to reach a number of destinations in Asia, with additional fuel costs to push up passengers' expenses.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev warned Monday Moscow could introduce a ban on flights if the EU decided to go ahead with a new round of sanctions over the crisis in Ukraine.
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