First BAe 146 painted in Bulgaria Air colors

Bulgaria Air BAe 146-300 LZ-HBF

Bulgaria Air BAe 146-300 LZ-HBF at Sofia (Anton Balakchiev)

After Balkan Hemus Group (BHG), owner of Hemus Air and Viaggio Air, bought Bulgaria Air in January 2007, the airlines were at first kept separate. In May 2009, it was announced that Bulgaria Air and Hemus Air would continue to operate separately so as not to lose Hemus Air’s air carrier licence. Despite that announcement, the two airlines have been quietly merged, with all traces of the Hemus name gradually vanishing from the joint website. The name remained painted on Hemus’ BAe 146s, however – except for those that returned off-lease from other carriers, who were operated in anonymous all-white schemes devoid of any titles whatsoever. The first BAe 146s were finally painted in a new Bulgaria Air color scheme in December, with both LZ-HBF (msn E3159) and LZ-HBG (msn E3159) being painted before year’s end.

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