Aer Lingus has become the latest carrier to announce plans to serve Dubrovnik throughout the year, as the airport looks to ease its high seasonality. Dubrovnik Airport has confirmed in its monthly publication that the Irish carrier, which maintains seasonal services to the Croatian coastal city, will operate flights from Dublin throughout the winter. Besides carrying local holidaymakers, the airline has seen a significant numbers of transfer passengers on the route throughout the summer, primarily from and to the United States. Furthermore, the winter service will cater for the growing Croatian diaspora in Ireland. As a result, Dubrovnik becomes Aer Lingus’ only year-round destination in the country.
Dubrovnik Airport is gearing up for what is likely to be its busiest winter season on record. Croatia Airlines will extend its summer service to Frankfurt, while Trade Air will continue operating to Rijeka during the winter. Furthermore, Turkish Airlines will maintain its new flights from Istanbul throughout the year. British Airways will continue flying from London Gatwick to Dubrovnik during the winter, however, there will be a partial stoppage in service in November, as well as from mid-January until mid-February. On the other hand, Croatia Airlines will discontinue its flights from Dubrovnik to Rome for the first time since 1994. The route was to be taken over by low cost carrier Vueling, however, no flights have been scheduled so far.
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. The budget carrier has requested for Dubrovnik Airport to reduce its fees and sign a multi-year agreement prior to it starting operations. 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. Currently, over 85% of all travellers to and from Dubrovnik Airport are handled during the peak summer months. It welcomed 1.438.077 passengers through its doors during the first eight months of the year, an increase of 14.9% compared to the same period in 2015. The 2016/17 winter season begins on October 30 and runs until March 25, 2017.