Bulgarian Airport Sacks Staffer Over Security Blunder

The security department of Sofia International Airport on Thursday said it had fired one employee and sanctioned several others after they failed to perform security checks on a group of 40 Lebanese tourists on September 3. 

Media quoted the airport management as blaming a number of managers and supervisors for the blunder, who received administrative sanctions and official warnings.

The airport management confirmed on Wednesday that a group of 40 Lebanese passengers who arrived on a Bulgaria Air flight from Beirut on September 3 were allowed to mingle with departing passengers who had already been screened. 

The passengers travelling to other EU destinations boarded their connecting flights without undergoing passport or security checks, the management of the airport said.

"Passengers coming from a third country were mixed with passengers who were already checked. The authorities were immediately informed about the case and the necessary actions were taken, guaranteeing general security standards," the airport statement on Wednesday said.

This is not the first such error at the airport. On July 13, a private jet took off to Greece from Sofia without undergoing any security checks.

On March 20, all passengers landing from Paris were allowed to enter Bulgarian territory without undergoing checks. At the time, the entire shift of border police and staff were reprimanded or in some cases fired.

The security lapses are an embarrassment for a country seeking to join the EU's passport-free Schengen area.

On Wednesday, MEP Manfred Werber, the main contender for the position of Jean-Claude Juncker as next head of the European Commission, backed Sofia's bid to join the Schengen area.

"The place of Bulgaria, Romania and...

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