Dubrovnik Airport is on course to record its busiest summer in history, with 286.182 passengers handled between August 1 - 24. The figure represents an increase of 11.3% compared to the same period last year. Since the start of 2016, the airport welcomed 1.345.786 travellers through its doors, up 14.7% on 2015. The number of aircraft movements up until this Tuesday stood at 13.174, an increase of 12.2% on last year's 11.746. Dubrovnik Airport's Deputy General Manager, Frano Luetić, recently said, "We anticipated our annual growth rate to amount to 3% or 4%. The double digit growth we have seen has surprised us so it is difficult to predict how the rest of the season will perform".
Dubrovnik Airport's strong showing so far this year is expected to continue into the winter season, with several airlines to maintain year-round flights to the city, while talks with Ryanair are still ongoing. Following discussions with local authorities, the airport and Tourist Board, Ryanair requested for Dubrovnik Airport to reduce its fees and sign a multi-year contract prior to it starting operations. Ryanair's Route Development Manager, Luis Fernandez-Mellado, said the budget carrier is willing to maintain year-round flights from Dubrovnik, describing it as an extremely interesting destination. He added there is already strong demand for the airline to introduce services to the coastal city, which would prove as an excellent city-break option during the winter months. Mr Fernandez-Mellado also hinted at the possibility of Ryanair operating domestic flights within Croatia, noting that it runs a number of domestic services within European Union-member states. Following talks with the airline, the Mayor of Dubrovnik, Andro Vlahušić, said the city is prepared to sign an agreement with Ryanair which would be applicable until 2024.
Other carriers which will introduce new services to Dubrovnik this winter include Croatia Airlines, which will maintain flights to Frankfurt, as well as Vueling, which will operate two weekly flights from Rome. In addition, Turkish Airlines, which launched services from Istanbul to Dubrovnik in May will also maintain the route throughout the year. Meanwhile, flights between New York and Dubrovnik could launch in 2017 with local authorities seeking a partner for the service. The city expects for the route to be maintained twice per week throughout the year. The Dubrovnik Tourist Board is contacting potential carriers and tour operators interested in running the service.