Dubrovnik Airport has entered into talks with Europe's largest low cost airline, Ryanair, over potential year-round flights to the city. The Deputy General Manager of Dubrovnik Airport, Frano Luetić, says the two sides held talks during the recent Routes Europe forum, which brought together a wide range of airlines, airports and tourism authorities. "We held a very important meeting with Ryanair's representatives. We provided them with a letter of intent from local authorities under the condition they operate services on a year-long basis". He added, "They are ready to come to Dubrovnik and hold talks with all relevant stakeholders". Ryanair has avoided Dubrovnik due to high fees, allowing its competitors, most notably easyJet, greater access to the market.
Ryanair operates flights to a handful of cities in Croatia, including Osijek, Pula, Rijeka and Zadar, albeit on a seasonal summer basis only. The no frills carrier has selected Zadar as its seasonal base in the country, while Osijek is likely to become its first year-round destination. During the peak summer months, Ryanair will offer 10.584 seats per week from Croatia, making it the country's fifth busiest carrier in terms of capacity. One of the its main rivals, easyJet, has been successful in Dubrovnik, maintaining its position as the second busiest carrier operating out of the city in 2015, behind only Croatia Airlines. It handled 189.328 passengers on its services to and from the city last year.
Dubrovnik Airport is putting a greater focus on its winter season operations this year, in an attempt to ease its highly seasonal passenger flow. Currently, over 85% of all travellers are handled during the peak summer months. This winter, Croatia Airlines will introduce flights from Dubrovnik to Frankfurt, while Turkish Airlines, which launched services from Istanbul this morning, will maintain the route throughout the year. In addition, Dubrovnik Airport is in talks with Austrian Airlines over extending its seasonal service from Vienna into the winter months. The airport has also entered into talks with LOT Polish Airlines over a new service from Warsaw in 2017. Dubrovnik Airport handled 174.577 passengers during the first four months of the year, an impressive increase of 21% compared to the same period in 2015. A multi million euro expansion of the airport is currently under way, with the construction of a new terminal building to be completed on schedule this October.