MOSCOW, September 16 (Itar-Tass) —— Bulgaria Air will organize no flight on Friday to take Russian tourists stuck in the Varna and Burgas airports back home to St. Petersburg, a spokeswoman for the Russian Union of Tourism Industry said.
According to Irina Tyurina, “all Friday flights booked by Alma Tour that were to take about 360 passengers to St. Petersburg have been cancelled.
Bulgaria Air says the flights were cancelled because of Alma Tour debts of 3.5 million euros. The air carried has also withdrawn all tickets booked by Alma Tour on its regular flights to Moscow and St. Petersburg.
As a matter of fact, the Alma Tour travel company has virtually is seeking to keep aloof from the problem while Alma Tour Fly has no money to pay for the transfer of tourists, Tyurina said.
One of the options offered to solve the problem, she noted, is to take a Bulgaria Air offer to take Russian tourists to Moscow and from there to get to St. Petersburg on their own. “There is information that the Bulgarian air carrier has allegedly agreed on this solution,” she said.
In the mean time, Irina Petrova, the director general of Solvex Travel, said her company was ready to offer free-of-charge seats on its flights to the tourists stuck in Bulgaria. She said the company’s offices in Varna and Burgas have already been instructed in this respect. “We have vacant seats on board planes that will take off for Moscow on September 23, 24, 26, 30, and on October 1, but tourists want to leave the country today,” she said.
Two more travel companies, ICS Travel Group and Delta Intercontinental Group, which booked tickets to Bulgaria via the Alma Tour holding, also said they were ready to offer vacant seats onboard their planes.
According to Oleg Moiseyev, the spokesman for the Russian Tourism Agency, “regrettably, the problems may stay for long.”
“Today’s flight that was to take home 360 tourists, including 14 children, has been cancelled but we hope to settle the problem by the end of September,” he said.
Bulgaria Air blocked charter flights of Russian tourists from Burgas and Varna on September 9 and 10 because of Alma Tour debts of about five million U.S. dollars. Hundreds of Russians had to wait days to be taken home.