New Rules for Bulgaria's Air Force One
The well-known during the government of former PM Boyko Borissov Air Force 28, the Bulgaria's equivalent of USAir Force One, will soon get a new regulation framework. According to it, the unit will continue functioning as an air carrier - a legal entity, with a secondary authorizing functions to the Minister of Transport, Information Technology and Communications whose support will be formed by the budget and the revenues from its own activities.
During the former government of the GERB, the unit was under the aegis of the Council of Ministers and due to its many flights carried out for reasons beyond its core purpose it was rightly named "the Air Taxi". With the new changes, the management will be executed by a Director-General who shall be appointed and dismissed by the transport minister, but after consultation with the Prime Minister.
The number of staff will remain unchanged - 82 people, along with the Director, but most of the privileges enjoyed by the employees so far will be done away with. So far, all the employees were entitled to additional remuneration under the Civil Aviation Act, which is paid monthly in proportion to the time worked. It is included in the gross salary that is used to calculate the compensation for paid leave benefits under the Labour Code and the benefits under the Social Security Code. Bonuses are given at the sole discretion of the Director General, while his own depend on the favour of the Prime Minister. Now all this will go down in history and the only privilege that will remain after the entry into force of the new rules is the provision of uniforms, work clothing, special workwear and personal protective equipment.
The flights for the needs of ministries and agencies will no longer be done by order of the Prime Minister, but a copy of the document with which the PM authorized the flight will be required. The price for each particular flight will be determined by the direct costs incurred.
The changes come after at the beginning of February report of the Supreme Audit Office was published, according to which it became clear that from 1 August 2009 up until March 31, 2013 the Air Force 28 made a total of 387 flights for the special needs of ministries and departments worth 5,665,715 levs. The lion's share of them - 243 was due to flights requested by the former Prime Minister Boyko Borisov himself. Some of the findings Supreme Audit Office were that no effective control was performed for the flights serving the needs of the Prime Minister.