NEW flights to a "hidden gem" holiday destination along the coast of the Black Sea have launched from Southend Airport today.

Holidaymakers departed for sunny Bourgas in Bulgaria as the first flight took off from Southend this morning.

Bourgas, described as a "hidden gem" by the south Essex airport, not only has warm weather and a gorgeous long beach, but it is also an important industrial, transport, cultural and tourist hub as the centre of the Bulgarian fishing and fish processing industry.

The new charter service, operated by Balkan Holidays, will run for 13 weeks until Monday, September 2, with flights every Monday.

It is one of several routes from Southend Airport this summer, including Paris, Alicante, Amsterdam, Malaga, Mallorca and Faro. 

Nigel Mayes, business development director at Southend Airport said: “With this summer already looking like a bit of a washout at home, many people will be seeking the sun, sea and sand that Bourgas in Bulgaria has to offer.

“With low deposits from £49 per person, and free 22kg luggage and transfers on all package holidays, Balkan Holidays is making a sunny break overseas easy and affordable for people in Essex, the East of London and East Anglia.”

There will be even more holiday spots to fly to from Southend Airport next summer including Paris, Alicante, Amsterdam, Malaga, Mallorca and Faro, alongside new routes Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Pisa, Dalaman, Antalya, Marrakech and Enfidha.

These new routes come as easyJet re-opens its base at Southend in March 2025, which will be the 10th in the UK with three 186-seat neo aircraft, and will create 130 new jobs in the area.

Andy Jones, head of product and commercial at Balkan Holidays added: “With the school holidays just around the corner its great news for anyone not booked yet for this summer that we still have plenty of great value holidays from London Southend – and from as low as £265 per person.

“That said, for those with a bigger holiday budget and looking for a bit more luxury, we also offer holidays all the way up to five-star, all-inclusive breaks.”

Sunseekers can now book their Bourgas holidays at, while easyJet's summer 2025 programme is already on sale including the seven new destinations.