Dubrovnik based Libertas Air secures backing from local politicians
Dubrovnik city officials are continuing to voice their support for a new start up airline to be based in the city - Libertas Air. The Mayor of Dubrovnik, Andro Vlahušić, has been extremely critical of Croatia Airlines and has shown his support for the new start up. “With all due respect to the airport, we need an airline that won’t constantly increase its prices. We don’t need Croatia Airlines. I hope to God it goes bankrupt. Maybe then someone normal would take their place”, Mr Vlahušić said. He added that the city, hoteliers and the tourism sector would be part owners in the new airline which hopes to launch flights from Dubrovnik next summer season.
Local politician Dubarvka Šuica, who is also a member of the European Parliament, also voiced her support for Libertas Air by criticising Croatia Airlines’ high prices. “Despite the fact that Dubrovnik’s citizens have understood the need for subsidies provided to Croatia Airlines as part of the “Air bridge” project financed by the city, the Croatian carrier has constantly increased its prices”, Ms. Šuica said.
Zoran Prpić, a former pilot and owner of tour operator Carpe Diem, hopes to set up Libertas Air with two leased 180 seat Airbus A320s from April next year. The creation of the airline could endanger subsidies which are currently provided to the Croatian national carrier on behalf of the city. This winter Croatia Airlines suspended most of its operations out of Dubrovnik, maintaining only flights to Zagreb and a two weekly service to Rome. Up until November the Croatian carrier has seen a 2% decline in passenger numbers on its flights to and from Dubrovnik, despite the airport handling 1.482.888 passengers, an increase of 3.6% compared to the same period last year. The airport has already surpassed last year’s record end of year result. Only some 4% of passengers using Dubrovnik Airport are locals.