Tourists stranded in Bulgaria in payment row

10th September 2011, Comments 0 comments

Several hundred Russian, Finnish and Latvian tourists were stranded for a second day at Bulgaria's Black Sea Burgas airport Saturday in a payment row between their tour operator and national carrier Bulgaria Air, media reported.

Two more flights -- to Finland's capital Helsinki Saturday evening and Latvia's capital Riga early Sunday -- were cancelled after three Russia-bound planes were already grounded on Friday, airport data showed.

The number of stranded passengers, including many children, could not be confirmed but each of the five planes had about 180 seats.

A debt of 7.0-million-leva (3.5-million-euro) owed by tour operator Alma Tour to Bulgaria Air caused the row on Friday, prompting the government to intervene.

One Moscow-bound plane with 186 passengers on board left Burgas airport on Saturday evening, after the Transport minister Ivaylo Moskovski went there to oversee talks between Alma Tour and Bulgaria Air.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov also dispatched to Burgas the government's 92-seater plane to fly tourists home, while Sofia's city prosecution opened a probe into the events.

Many of the angry tourists were, however, bound to spend another night at the airport.

Russian and Scandinavian holidaymakers are some of the most common in Bulgaria in the summer months.

© 2011 AFP

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