Qatar Airways Ups Bulgarian Connectivity With Sofia Return

Qatar Airways is celebrating yesterday’s return of its non-stop service between Doha and Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. The service is operated by Airbus A320 aircraft. The service is making a post-COVID return but at a lower capacity than it previously operated.

Qatar Airways is once again flying non-stop to Sofia, where it celebrated its ten-year anniversary in September. Photo: Qatar Airways

Doha-Sofia flights resume

Yesterday, Thursday 16th December, Qatar Airways re-instated its non-stop service between its hub, Doha (DOH), and the capital of Bulgaria, Sofia (SOF).

Up until yesterday, as a result of the cutbacks that Qatar made due to the pandemic, flights between Doha and Sofia were running via Bucharest’s Henri Coandă Airport (OTP) in Romania.

The route made a stop in Bucharest in both directions. This enabled Qatar to run a daily service, maintaining high connectivity while splitting capacity between Bulgaria and Romania.

However, even though the non-stop flights have now resumed, the capacity is much lower than it was before the pandemic. Prior to March 2020, Qatar was operating the service as often as twice daily. Now, the schedule is as follows:

  • QR227 from Doha (DOH) to Sofia (SOF) departs 09:15 and arrives at 13:20
  • QR228 from Sofia (SOF) to Doha (DOH) departs at 16:05 and arrives at 21:45

Flights operate four times weekly, on Mondays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

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A boost for Sofia’s connectivity

The non-stop service resumption is a significant boost for passengers traveling to and from Bulgaria because it reduces travel time to and from Doha by as much as two hours.

The resumption provides greater choice and seamless connectivity for Bulgarians and international travelers to discover the world via Qatar Airways’ award-winning hub, Hamad International Airport (DOH).

Commenting on the resumption, Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said,

“[The resumption] is a testament to both strong demand and our deep commitment to Bulgaria, as we continue to celebrate the airline’s 10-year anniversary of proudly serving the country. These non-stop flights provide Bulgarians with a superior choice to experience the more than 140 destinations that we fly to around the world via the World’s Best Airport, Hamad International Airport.

“Qatar Airways’ reinstated non-stop flights will make it even easier for travelers from around the world to visit Bulgaria – a truly unique country that has something to offer for everyone.”

Qatar celebrates ten years in Sofia

In September this year, Qatar celebrated its 10th anniversary of operations in Bulgaria.

It first arrived in Bulgaria on 14th September 2011 when it launched a scheduled service from Sofia to Doha via Bucharest. A year later, in 2012, the frequency was increased to five times a week. In 2014, a direct service was introduced between Sofia and Doha, with the Bucharest stop dropped. The frequency was also boosted to daily.

In 2015, a stop was re-introduced, but this time to Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport (BEG) in Serbia. In 2016, this stop was dropped too, and the capacity of Doha-Sofia-Doha flights was boosted to two daily. The twice-daily frequency stayed until the pandemic.

Just before the pandemic, Qatar signed a codeshare agreement with Bulgaria’s flag carrier Bulgaria Air, boosting the attractiveness of these flights through feeder traffic on both ends.

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