Bulgaria Air’s sale is launched

SOFIA (Reuters) – Bulgaria launched the sale of national flag carrier Bulgaria Air yesterday, as it tries to boost competitiveness in the company before Bulgaria’s planned EU entry in 2007 or 2008. Under the plan, Bulgaria will sell the small airline to a strategic or financial investor but will keep a «golden share» to ensure state interests are protected. «The privatization agency has announced the opening of bidding for 30,159 shares, or 99.99 percent, in Bulgaria Air,» the agency said on its website. Austrian Airlines and small Bulgarian private carrier Hemus Air expressed interest in the deal at that time. Scandinavia’s SAS also said it could pursue it, but yesterday said it was no longer interested. Bulgaria Air, formed after the collapse of Balkan Airlines in 2002, is the Black Sea state’s largest airline.