|Turkish Airlines to introduce Istanbul - Dubrovnik service in late June|
Two years after initially planning to launch flights to Dubrovnik, Turkish Airlines will finally do so this summer season, bringing its total number of destinations in the former Yugoslavia to eight. According to Dubrovnik Airport, the Turkish carrier will commence scheduled operations from Istanbul on June 27, with services to run until the end of the 2016 summer season, on October 29. Although the route is currently planned to run on a seasonal basis, Turkish Airlines does not have summer-only destinations in its network, indicating that the Dubrovnik service could be extended into the winter months as well. Flights are planned to operate four times per week, each Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. The airline is yet to put tickets on sale.
In the spring of 2014, Turkish Airlines planned to add Dubrovnik to its route network with three weekly flights, however, decided against the move later on. "The route comes as a result of drawn out negotiations which involved many representatives from Croatia's southernmost region", Dubrovnik Airport says. It adds, "The reason there were no flights to Turkey over the past few years was the introduction of visas for Turkish citizens, which complicated their travel to Croatia. This happened when Croatia entered the European Union (2013). However, there is room for great optimism due to the large number of Turkish tourists which could return to Dubrovnik now". In 2014, a total of 26.220 Turkish citizens visited Croatia, of which 17.398 holidayed on the coast.
With the introduction of its new flights to Dubrovnik, Turkish Airlines will operate a total of 106 weekly flights to the former Yugoslavia this summer season. The airline will maintain double daily operations to Belgrade, Pristina, Skopje, Zagreb, Ljubljana and Podgorica, with the latter two receiving a boost from ten weekly services last summer. Furthermore, Turkish Airlines will operate eighteen weekly flights to Sarajevo, in addition to the four weekly services to Dubrovnik. “Turkish Airlines always gives crucial importance to the former Yugoslav market, considering its contribution to our global network. The mentioned routes have great potential and feed Turkish’s European points, as well as points in the United States”, the airline told EX-YU Aviation News. Dubrovnik Airport handled 1.693.934 passengers last year, an increase of 6.9% on 2014. Croatia Airlines handled the most passengers (383.464), followed by easyJet (189.328), Norwegian Air Shuttle (156.183), Vueling Airlines (92.498), Thomsonfly (87.095), Jet2.com (73.133) and Lufthansa (72.648).