New Bulgarian Airline Recommended

Business | September 20, 2002, Friday // 00:00

A new company should be set up to replace the indebted flag carrier Balkan, Bulgaria's Finance Minister said. This plan of the government faces firm opposition from Balkan employees. Replacement is the best way to protect the interest of the country and its taxpayers, Velchev maintained. He noted that the state should only seek to recover what Balkan owes it while staying off the new airlines. Balkan Airlines was put in receivership in March 2001 and since then has been managed by two court-appointed administrators. Hopes for its revival were raised at the beginning of April when a Sofia court approved its recovery, under which creditors are to be offered equity stakes in return for cancelling its debts. The government had sold 75 percent of Balkan to Israel's Zeevi Group in 1999. Balkan's fleet was grounded for more than two months last year in a dispute between Zeevi and the government over who should pay its outstanding debts. It resumed flights to selected cities last May, including London, Dubai and Tel Aviv.

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