Local authorities in Dubrovnik are in talks with several carriers, including Ryanair, Austrian and Croatia Airlines, over the introduction of services from Brussels, Rome, Vienna and Frankfurt to the coastal city during the winter months, in a bid to ease the airport's highly seasonal passenger flow. Croatia Airlines is finalising negotiations to extend its seasonal service from Dubrovnik to Frankfurt into winter. Flights are expected to run three times per week. However, the Croatian carrier has reacted angrily over reports that local authorities are in talks with another airline over the introduction of services from the Italian capital. "Croatia Airlines has maintained flights between Dubrovnik and Rome for the past ten years without any support and at its own commercial risk. We plan on doing so in the future as well. If reports are true that the city is in talks with another carrier to operate the same route, we can only say we are surprised and disappointed that we haven't been asked to introduce additional flights", the Croatian carrier said.
Authorities in Dubrovnik also expect for year-round, four weekly flights from Brussels to be launched this winter. Croatia Airlines has denied it will operate the service. "We are not involved in these talks and have no knowledge of them", it said. Brussels Airlines introduced six weekly services to Zagreb last winter. Andreas Weingartner, Brussels Airlines' General Manager for Central Europe, Balkans, Russia and Offline Europe, recently said, "The Balkan market is still relatively untapped and is new for us, but it certainly has growth potential. Initially, we always introduce flights to countries which are already members of the European Union. Zagreb has recently been added. On our flights from Vienna, we have many transfer passengers from the Balkans".
Dubrovnik Airport has previously said it is in talks with Europe's largest low cost airline, Ryanair, over potential year-round flights to the city. Furthermore, it is in discussions with Austrian Airlines to extend its seasonal service from Vienna into the winter months. Meanwhile, Turkish Airlines, which launched flights from Istanbul to Dubrovnik several weeks ago will maintain the route throughout the year. On the other hand, British Airways will no longer offer year-round flights to the city due to high costs. The Mayor of Dubrovnik, Andro Vlahušić, has noted that local authorities would seek an alternative in order for Dubrovnik to stay linked to the British capital throughout the year. Currently, over 85% of all travellers to and from Dubrovnik Airport are handled during the peak summer months. Dubrovnik Airport welcomed 174.577 passengers through its doors during the first four months of the year, an increase of 21% compared to the same period in 2015.