Dubrovnik Airport says there are no indications that planned flights between the United States and the Croatian coastal city could launch in 2017, as the airport caps off its most successful year to date and heads into a busy 2017. Speaking to EX-YU Aviation News, Dubrovnik Airport's Deputy General Manager, Frano Luetić, said, "Unfortunately, there is no progress regarding direct flights to the US and neither are there any indications that such operations could occur next year". In May, local authorities announced they were seeking a partner for the introduction of a two weekly, year-round New York - Dubrovnik service. Mayor Andro Vlahušić said at the time, "The number of visitors from the United States to Dubrovnik has tripled over the past five years, which is why we want to establish direct flights between New York and Dubrovnik. It is unacceptable that Americans visiting Dubrovnik cannot fly nonstop or have to transfer through Belgrade".
US tourists now rank fifth by visits to Dubrovnik and potential flights from the United States could prove popular. Charter carrier National Airlines had previously expressed interest in launching a two weekly seasonal service from New York to Dubrovnik. In 2014, American Airlines began codesharing on Iberia flights from Madrid to the Croatian city, while US Airways, which has since merged with American, added its codes onto British Airways' flights from London. Earlier this year, the Croatian Ambassador to the United States said the Embassy had resumed discussions with various stakeholders in order to explore all possibilities for the establishment of direct flights to Croatia. "We will do all we can to spearhead and facilitate this effort, and achieve direct flights as soon as it is economically possible", the Ambassador said. Recently, Zagreb Airport announced it was working on establishing flights to the Big Apple in cooperation with a European carrier.
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 start new flights to the city next year or increase frequencies on existing routes. They include easyJet which will introduce an additional four destinations from Dubrovnik, as well as Eurowings, Jet2, Volotea, Condor, Thomson Airways, Monarch Airlines, Flybe and Primera Air. The airport is also putting the finishing touches on its new terminal (C), set to open at the start of the 2017 summer season. Construction of the facility is mostly complete with work on the hall connecting terminals B and C currently underway.