|Croatia Airlines plans to resume Dubrovnik - Frankfurt winter service|
Croatia Airlines plans to resume flights between Dubrovnik and Frankfurt next winter season following a three year hiatus. According to the "Avioradar" portal, the Dubrovnik Tourist Board and Croatia Airlines have reached an agreement in principle for the service to resume next winter season, with the city to subsidise the flights for an undisclosed amount. The Croatian carrier suspended several of its services from Dubrovnik during the 2013/14 winter season including Frankfurt and Paris, much to the dismay of the airport and local authorities. The suspensions were made in a bid to cut costs as part of the airline's restructuring initiative. Since then, Croatia Airlines has only maintained flights from Dubrovnik to Zagreb and Rome during the winter season.
Dubrovnik argues that year-round flights operated by Croatia Airlines are vital for easing the highly seasonal passenger flow at the airport. Currently, over 85% of all travellers are handled during the peak summer months. Following the suspensions, Roko Tolić, the airport's Managing Director, said, "We have a great challenge ahead of us as we can no longer rely on our partner. We understand that Croatia Airlines must undergo restructuring but we will not sit with our hands crossed. We will look for partners elsewhere”. Frankfurt was Dubrovnik's eighth busiest route this year, accounting for 2.8% of all passengers using the airport. It is served by both Croatia Airlines and Lufthansa, but only during the summer season.
Croatia Airlines' spokesperson, Davor Janušić says, "Talks are currently being held between all interested parties regarding the resumption of flights between Dubrovnik and Frankfurt. We have reached an agreement in principle for the introduction of nonstop services between the two cities during the 2016/17 winter season. Negotiations regarding other conditions, such as frequencies, are ongoing". The head of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, Romana Vlašić, says the city hopes to conclude a three-year contract with Croatia Airlines regarding the service. The 2016/17 winter season begins on October 30, 2016. Croatia Airlines' restructuring program, which has limited its opportunities for network growth over the past four years, comes to an end in just over a week. The airline has said it is looking to expand both its network and fleet in 2016.