WELCOME TO HOSTILE AIRPORT

by Anthony Georgieff

While the denizens of Sofia are pondering over whether the name of Sofia's airport should be changed from Vrazhdebna, which means "Hostile," to something friendlier, the airport itself is becoming increasingly hostile to both its customers and its long-standing partners.

No, it's not about delays, lost luggage, the collapsed and still unrepaired awning in front of the new terminal building, the lack of benches in the park next to the airport, the mente taxi cabs charging London-plus fares to get you into town, the most expensive coffee in Europe or the December fog. No, it is none of that. It is Bulgaria's Airport Magazine, Highflights, known through the years to hundreds of thousands of both domestic and international passengers, which was distributed free at all Bulgaria's airports and which informed and entertained you during your long waits in the airport buildings. Plamen Stanchev, the airport's chief steward, decided with a stroke of a pen that the airport no longer needed an airport magazine – and thus deprived his customers and staff of the only piece of printed information they could get hold of for free inside what, from an European perspective, is a rather uncosy terminal.

How did he do that? He decided to charge Vagabond Media, the publishers of Highflights, to distribute the magazine at the airport. To put it another way, he decided to demand money from the people who were doing him a service.

Typical Bulgarian way of doing things? Unfortunately, whenever there is any interaction between a private business and any branch of Bulgaria's state administration (unlike Burgas and Varna, where the airports are run by Fraport, Sofia's airport is owned by the state and supervised by the Ministry of Transportation) things may go that way. Unless, of course, you are willing to resort to "unsound" trade practices.

So, as of 1 January 2010 Sofia Airport will no longer have a magazine. Bring your own reading material because the only bookshop in the airport, a very useful outlet run by Ciela, has also closed down – the airport management was demanding exorbitant rental fees.

In the meantime, Vrazhdebna-Hostile is still called Vrazhdebna-Hostile. There is just one unfriendlier toponym in the world: Grozny in Chechnya means "Ugly."

  • COMMENTING RULES

    Commenting on www.vagabond.bg

    Vagabond Media Ltd requires you to submit a valid email to comment on www.vagabond.bg to secure that you are not a bot or a spammer. Learn more on how the company manages your personal information on our Privacy Policy. By filling the comment form you declare that you will not use www.vagabond.bg for the purpose of violating the laws of the Republic of Bulgaria. When commenting on www.vagabond.bg please observe some simple rules. You must avoid sexually explicit language and racist, vulgar, religiously intolerant or obscene comments aiming to insult Vagabond Media Ltd, other companies, countries, nationalities, confessions or authors of postings and/or other comments. Do not post spam. Write in English. Unsolicited commercial messages, obscene postings and personal attacks will be removed without notice. The comments will be moderated and may take some time to appear on www.vagabond.bg.

Add new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.

Discover More

'SMART & BEAUTIFUL' PARKING WOES GRIP CENTRAL SOFIA
The advisors to Vasil Terziev, the mayor of Sofia, who are supposedly as "smart and beautiful" as the political parties that put him forward, must have swallowed that book several times over and mastered to perfection the craft of losing friends and alienat
NEED A CONSPIRACY THEORY?
Atanas Atanasov is a general. He was the head of the Bulgarian security service under Ivan Kostov, the Bulgarian prime minister in 1997-2001, who inimitably prompted just two reactions: love or hate.

SENIOR CLERIC GETS STATE FUNERAL
So what has a senior cleric, Patriarch Neofit, who died in March aged 78, done to deserve a state funeral replete with military salutes and a coffin being drawn by... an armoured personnel carrier?

ROTATING, ROTATING...
When it was hammered out last year with the support of Boyko Borisov's GERB (whom everyone left, right and centre of Kiril Petkov, Asen Vasilev, Hristo Ivanov and Gen Atanas Atanasov swore was the godfather of all evils to befall Bulgaria

GOING, GOING...
The cops by far outnumber the construction workers wielding chop saws inside a ladder hoist. There have been no press releases, nor the obligatory information signs to tell the public what's going on. The area has been cordoned off.

ASEN VASILEV GETS BANNED FROM BALLOT BOX
The man, who went to his native Haskovo, in southern Bulgaria, to vote in the local elections was turned away by the election authority because he failed to live up to the basic requirement of having had an address in his constituency for at least six month

PRE-ELECTION TALK
"Hey, beauty, let's go home and have sex."" I can't do it just like that. We do not even have common acquaintances.""Well, do you know Boyko Borisov?""Yes, I do.""So, let's go!"***
LONG LIVE RED ARMY MONUMENT
Other angry citizens have taken to the park, where the MOCHA is situated.

FLYING COLOURS & METEORITES
Firstly, a bright light appeared in the sky over Vidin, at the River Danube, one dark, hot and mosquito-infested night. It was reputedly followed by a loud explosion. People were mesmerised and slightly frightened.

TO 'GIVE' SOMEONE TO A PROSECUTOR
What led to that is so complicated and absurd that analysts find it difficult to explain while ordinary people prefer just to laugh it off. Here is the story briefly.

CAR OF DISCORD
Everyone who has had some work to do with the Bulgarian police should have noticed the despicable conditions in which rank and file officers often work.

VACUITY AND WINDBAGGISM
Voters are being exposed to a plethora of pledges designed to make them feel good – and cast their ballots for whoever talks louder.