Most stranded tourists flown home: Bulgaria Air
Several hundred Russian, Estonian and Lithuanian tourists stranded in Bulgaria's Black Sea airports of Burgas and Varna over the weekend have flown home, air carrier Bulgaria Air said Monday.
"Over 250 Russian tourists left on several additional Moscow-bound flights by Saturday evening," Bulgaria Air press officer Antonia Atanasova told AFP.
"Another 360 people left on two Bulgaria Air charters to Estonia's capital Talinn and Lithuania's capital Vilnius on Sunday."
Bulgaria's government plane also flew home some 80 Russians stuck at Burgas and Varna, she added.
"All our scheduled charter flights this week are departing on time," Atanasova said, adding that "there are no more waiting passengers right now."
Bulgarian national radio however reported Monday that 170 Scandinavian holidaymakers and 60 Russian tourists from Saint Petersburg were still waiting at their hotels for a flight home.
Hundreds of holidaymakers from Russia, Finland, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania had been stuck at the two Black Sea airports since Friday by a payment row between their tour operator and Bulgaria Air.
The scandal at the end of what Bulgaria hoped to be a very successful summer holiday season threatened to mar the country's image and prompted Premier Boyko Borisov to dispatch the government plane to fly tourists home.
Hotel owners meanwhile mulled offering them free holiday packages next summer as compensation.
Following a massive advertising campaign in Russia this year, Bulgaria has managed to boost Russian tourist reservations at its seaside resorts by as much as 40 percent this season, economy ministry data showed.
© 2011 AFP