Dubrovnik Airport and Ryanair have failed to reach an agreement over the latter's flights to the coastal city following several months of talks. The General Manager of Dubrovnik Airport, Roko Tolić, said that conditions put forward by the carrier were unacceptable and too demanding of the airport. Speaking at the recent Southeast Europe Aviation Summit, Mr Tolić noted the no frills carrier had requested lower fees, however, he added that all airlines are treated equally at the airport with no preferential treatment offered. Both the city mayor and the local Tourist Board were involved in the talks as well. Dubrovnik Airport offers a number of incentives to airlines with discounts for takeoff and landing fees for new routes and increased frequencies. Furthermore, handling charges can be slashed depending on the airline's passenger volume. Carriers operating scheduled flights to the city during the winter season are completely freed of takeoff and landing fees.
Ryanair has so far avoided Dubrovnik due to higher costs, allowing its competitors, most notably easyJet, greater access to the market. This summer, both Dubrovnik Airport and Ryanir were close to reaching a multiyear agreement which would have been applicable until 2024. In addition, the Tourist Board and local hoteliers proposed a number of desired destinations for the airline to operate. Ryanair's Route Development Manager, Luis Fernandez-Mellado, previously said the budget carrier would maintain year-round flights from Dubrovnik, describing it as an extremely interesting destination. He added that there was already strong demand for the airline to introduce services to the coastal city. Ryanair operates flights to a handful of points 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. During this year's peak summer months, Ryanair offered 10.584 seats per week from Croatia, making it the country's fifth busiest carrier in terms of capacity.
This year will go down as Dubrovnik Airport's busiest in history, with 1.971.094 passengers handled during the January - November period, representing an increase of 17.6% compared to the same period in 2015. A number of airlines have already announced plans to launch new flights to the city next year or increase frequencies on existing routes. They include easyJet which will introduce an additional four new destinations from Dubrovnik, as well as Eurowings, Jet2, Volotea, Condor, Thomson Airways and Primera Air. The airport will open its new terminal (C) building next summer. Construction has been mostly completed with work on the hall connecting its Terminal B and C buildings currently underway.