Zadar Airport has warned that Ryanair could cut back on its operations from the city, which serves as the airline's seasonal base, after the local tourist board said it may be unable to cover part of the airline's costs. In a statement, Zadar Airport said, "At the start of September, Ryanair proposed a 20% increase in operations during the 2017 summer season and the possibility of extending its flights throughout the winter. This pitch gained full backing from local authorities and the Ministry of Tourism, which promised to provide financial assistance. However, the head of the Tourist Board of Zadar, Mihaela Kadija, rejected the offer and informed Zadar Airport that the Board has not finalised its budget for promotional expenses for the upcoming year".
Zadar Airport believes that the funding, which revolves around promoting Ryanair's operations, will be much lower in 2017 when compared to this year and will result in a 26% reduction in the carrier's operations. "Instead of nine new routes and a 20% increase in fligts, we are facing a 26% reduction in services next year", the airport noted. Zadar already owes the no frills airline 612.000 euros in unpaid incentives for 2015 and 2016. Ryanair previously announced the introduction of new flights from Glasgow and Copenhagen to the Croatian city next summer, however, neither have been put up for sale yet.
Ryanair is Zadar Airport's busiest airline, handling 325.000 travellers to and from the city this year. Its average cabin load factor to and from Zadar stood at 86% during 2016. The airline's major low cost rival, easyJet, has hinted at the possibility of introducing services to the city next year. A delegation from the budget carrier visited the airport last month to inspect its facilities and operations. The airline could launch flights as early as next summer season. Zadar Airport handled a record 510.518 passengers during the January - October period, up 6%. It is the first time the airport has managed to surpass the 500.000 passengers mark in a single year.