American ready for historic Dubrovnik service


American Airlines has said it is prepared for the launch of its new Philadelphia - Dubrovnik service this Friday which will mark the resumption of nonstop flights between the United States and Croatia after 28 years. In a statement, the world's largest carrier told EX-YU Aviation News, "American Airlines is very pleased with the bookings for our new flight between Dubrovnik and Philadelphia. While it is performing in line with our expectations, it is too early for us to comment on our 2020 summer schedule as that planning process is still being done". The inaugural flight from Philadelphia to Dubrovnik will see good loads with several vacant seats currently available in business and economy class. Flights will be operated by the 209-seat Boeing 767-300ER aircraft.

American Airlines will maintain three weekly services between the two cities from June until September. During September, the number of operations will increase to four per week until the flying season comes to a close at the end of the month. "We constantly evaluate our network to ensure we are maximising our fleet, while matching customer demand. It was a result of this process that we were able to add the fourth weekly frequency in September", American said. It added, “The summer of 2019 represents a major strategic overhaul in our transatlantic network. In terms of [available seat miles] and seats, we are growing more than our competitors, due to drivers such as increased departures, stage length and gauge increase". American Airlines' Vice President of Philadelphia Hub Operations, Jim Moses, said, "Dubrovnik has been a place of interest for several years. It has grown in popularity among US travellers, but remained unserved by US airlines. American Airlines saw an opportunity to fill that gap".

The new service will benefit from a joint promotional and marketing campaign which will be undertaken by the Croatian National Tourist Board. Its General Manager, Kristjan Stančić, said, "By cooperating with airlines through our program of strategic promotional campaigns on key markets, we position Croatia as an attractive and well connected year-round destination. We are particularly excited about the new intercontinental service between Philadelphia and Dubrocnik which will link us with the US market for the first time in almost thirty years". The Tourist Board has earmarked a budget of around 5.3 million euros this year for all joint marketing activities.




Comments

  1. So are these €5.3 million from the same fund that supported EK flights in ZAG?
    If they are 'supporting' flights like that why not have two weekly to ZAG as well which is a much larger market?

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    1. Frankly, not sure what the admin means by saying "The Tourist Board has earmarked a budget of around 5.3 million euros this year for all joint marketing activities."

      In my opinion it is unclear if that is
      - the budget for all marketing activities (amongst them support for routes in the air transport sector) in the whole of Croatia (all airports) and the whole of the HR tourist board in the US
      - or if this is related only to the PHL-DBV route (marketing for Dubrovnik in the US plus route launch support for AA).

      Judging by the amount I assume the first.

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    2. Anyone remember how much EK got? Also it seems EK got it for a year as after that period they downgraded the route. I wonder what time period we are talking about AA in DBV. Would be cool to try to extend these flights every year.

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    3. Total budget for all marketing activities with airlines that will be beneficiaries of such assistance this year. That is, American will receive a share of that total amount.

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    4. Thanks a lot for the clarification and quick response, that makes sense.

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    5. Do we know what is the share?

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    6. They don't release that sort of information. Each year a tender is launched and then airlines can apply.

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  2. Bravo Hrvatska!

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    1. Bravo, DBV!

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    2. Bravo American!

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    3. Bravo turizam! Easy money dropping in :)

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    4. Nije bas easy. Ljudi se vise ne zadovoljavaju suncem i morem. Ima tu dosta rada da nesto zaradis.

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    5. Ma easy money kažem ti. Ovi zahtjevni prvo odu u Tursku pa kad tamo pukne par puta onda se vrate i ne zahtijevaju previše :)

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    6. Sala na stranu, to nije nacin kako sustavno i kvalitativno raditi na turizmu. Ali mislim da to znas.

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  3. Such an exciting time for Dubrovnik. Who would have thought it would be the first Croatian airport after so many years to have flights to the US.

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    1. I always thought Zagreb would be first but hopefully it joins DBV soon.

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  4. And Croatia Airlines saw no viability to start flights from the country to the US? Wake up OU.

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    1. LOL, why would OU waste so many resources and money for a flight that serves a market easily covered with so many other options?
      For prestige purposes?
      Only people with their mindset still stuck in the 70's think that somehow a country becomes ...prestigious if a tax funded state airline flies to New York.

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    2. I think OU cemented its decision long ago that it would not go long haul.

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    3. @9.09 it's nothing to do with any prestige. Maybe because there are so many US tourists, big Croatian diaspora, cargo, business links... all that money will now go to American Airlines including tax payer money from "joint advertising".

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    4. OU needs to serve Croatian citizens and focus on the routes they need the most. Namely to Western Europe.

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    5. An airline that limits itself to serving only one type of passenger is a failed airline.

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    6. @9:11
      Yes it is a disaster that the Croatian state does not waste money to cover loses of a US route!
      I am also sure the Greeks feel the same way that they pay zero Euros of their taxes to a national airline but they still get 7 daily flights to the US and 5 or 6 depending on the day of the week to Canada.

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    7. That is your opinion that I disagree with. OU is state owned company and it is public service. As such it has different goals to other privately owned companies.

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    8. Anon 09.14

      But is OU serving the needs of the Croatian travellers or rather those of LH Group shareholders?

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    9. Just because AS flies to NY does not mean OU should do so as well. Different priorities.

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    10. @9.14 lol. the only region where it can succeed is east. the west is covered with the lcc's

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    11. @9.17 but we are paying for American. And no we can't compare to Greece. Bigger market, bigger US tourist numbers and massive Greek diaspora including people of Greek heritage in very very high places in the US.

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    12. @Nemjee: OU is a member of Star Alliance and tightly coupled with LH. For a small company like OU is that is the best approach to fulfilling its purpose.

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    13. @9.18 my opinion has nothing to do with Air Serbia. I think Croatia Airlines should have been flying to the US for years irrespective of others.

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    14. There is no need to worry about OU as it will be shut down in the near future. And that is the best thing that could happen to Croatian taxpayers.

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    15. OU has too small fleet for such exhibitions.

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    16. Anon at 09:17
      Thankfully fewer and fewer enterprises are run by your definition of what a state owned company should do!
      We tried what you suggested for decades. And it failed. Welcome to the post 1990 economy and world!

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    17. Your opinion in this matter is not important any more than mine is. It is what the govt. of Croatia thinks and does what really matters.

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    18. @10:00
      Thankfully the HR government agrees with me and so no millions of Euros wasted every year on a flight to New York!

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    19. Compared to the disasters such as Uljanik and Agrokor, "millions of Euros" are mere peanuts.

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    20. Money wasted on Uljanik and Agrokor is all the more reason to not waste them on OU as well.

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    21. I suppose the HR government is right, if Budapest can't make these flights operate profitably on a year-round basis then they can't either. Better to stick to the formula that works. On the other hand, numbers below only go to show how much regional feed is necessary in order to make long-haul flying work. #jubegtojfk

      BUD-JFK
      JAN: 57.5%
      FEB: 43.3%
      MAR: 47.5%

      BUD-ORD
      JAN: 69.9%
      FEB: 24.8%
      MAR: 38.2%

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    22. Wow those loads are poor even for winter. How many weekly flights do they have to each?

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    23. And here we are talking about Budapest.

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    24. @ Nemjee. Thanks for the advertisement for JUs service :)

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    25. No problem, praise should be given when deserved and JU did a rather good job with their JFK flights. Much better than LO did in neighbouring BUD for example.

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  5. The fact that they have increased flights to four weekly is an extremely good sign.

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    1. It's odd that they have increased them in September at the end of the season. Wouldn't it make more sense to increase flights in July and August?

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    2. Well they say in the text that is when they had spare capacity. If they had more aircraft they probably would have added extra flights earlier.

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    3. No, because people buy tickets like 2-3 months before departure, for that long trip. Btw September is one of the peak months, especially in Dubrovnik.

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    4. AA could also just extend the flying season to include October.

      Not many sane people would want to go to DBV in July and August to do sightseeing at 35 degrees C.

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  6. Good to see that bookings are in line with expectations.

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    1. that means nothing

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    2. You are so right. They are increasing flights because they will be flying empty.

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    3. If the bookings were not good as you would hope they would not have said anything.

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    4. Ako su bookinzi loši onda je logično da dodaju 4pw, da zavaraju forumsku publiku, nema šta.

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    5. Anonymous at 09:46
      +1000
      It is funny how the success of this route makes some people angry.

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    6. Exactly, like some other routes in the region did as well.

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  7. Any chance of them coming to Zagreb?

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    1. Why? How do you know. Many on here said AA would not come to Dubrovnik but here we are.

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    2. American will not fly to ZAG. Some other company might although very unlikely.

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    3. And why is it "very unlikely" other then your personal wish?

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    4. Because American will not fly to ZAG if most US tourist arrive to Dubrovnik. That is why. And if you have any other smart questions please write to Uprava Vodovoda.

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    5. You will be unpleasantly surprised then.

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    6. Yes we have been 'unpleasantly surprised' for many years now and nothing changed in the end.

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    7. In my opinion, there is no big chance for direct flights ZAG-USA in near future. At least no without some kind of subventions. ZAG is well covered from USA via FRA, MUC, AMS, CDG, VIE, LHR, etc. If there is direct route, demand will surely be good, but yield probably no, and that is more important then LF.

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    8. American code-shares on BAs daily flights to Zagreb from Heathrow, no need to fly all the way directly. There is a need for more more LHR ZAG flights though since at least BAs daily flights to ZAG are mostly totally packed, even out of season an even with larger planes such as A320 and 321

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  8. I still don't get the choice of Philadelphia but I'm very happy American is coming :)

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    1. PHL is an area where a lot of the diaspora is located and an AA hub.

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    2. Will diaspora use these flights though? I doubt majority of US diaspora is from Dubrovnik area.

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    3. No it's mainly for US tourists.

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    4. Philadelphia is AA's main transatlantic hub. They are actually moving European flights from JFK to PHL!

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    5. Very interesting. What's the reason for it?

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    6. They inherited PHL from US Airways and their costs are probably lower than in New York where they have to compete with Delta and jetBlue (domestic and regional) and with United down the road at EWR.

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    7. PHL was the main transatlentic hub for US Air.

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    8. In the US it is common to connect via hubs to other destinations.
      99 % of pax who will fly Philadelphia to Dubrovnik will not be from Philadelphia but from other places all over the US .
      MfM

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  9. US airlines are so rigid when it comes to expanding in Europe so congrats American and also Dubrovnik for catching such a big player.

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    1. Agree. I think this says a lot about the competence and hard work of DBV management.

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  10. Great news. Hope it leads to more flights in 2020.

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    1. The best combination would be 2x weekly to Dubrovnik and 2x weekly to Zagreb next year.

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    2. No it would not.

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    3. Čuj ti logike, sad im ide obro u DBV, povećali su sa 3 na 4pw, ali bi dogodine trebali smanjiti na 2pw da probaju sa ZAG?! Ne znam ljudi što je s vašom logikom razmišljanja.

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  11. Croatia Airlines should have codeshared on these flights.

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    1. +1 would bring more passengers to OU's domestic flights from/to Dubrovnik.

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    2. No way would Croatia Airlines codeshare on United's arch rival.

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  12. Interesting that Transat and Air Canada Rouge chose Zagreb over the coast while American chose the coast over Zagreb.

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    1. I think because both of those are focusing on diaspora and tourists while American is just looking for leisure passengers.

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    2. End visa requirments and you will see more Croats from Croatia visiting the US.

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    3. It's not just visas. The fares on this route are really expensive compared to other one stop options.

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  13. There has been virtually no advertizing for this route in Croatia.

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    1. Because their target group are not locals from Croatia.

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    2. Exactly. Tourist board would not give money if it were meant for the local population.

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    3. I would take a guess at the passenger structure.

      Quite sure less than 10% of pax will be locals from Croatia/MNE/BiH, out of that maybe half will only be VFR.

      AA is aiming for probably around 75% American and Canadian tourists and generelly leisure pax transferring via their PHL hub.

      The rest (5%) business pax - not meaning that business class will necessarily be empty as tourists visiting "high end" (expensive) DBV may also invest in flying more comfortably. I am saying this knowing the business class loads of OS to high end long haul leisure destinations such as MLE, SEZ, MRU

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  14. Congratulations Croatia! All the countries in South East Europe are doing their best to better their economies, and direct flights are an indicator of future trends to come. This being said, Dubrovnik is the ice breaker for US flights to Croatia, and its only a matter of time the numbers will make sense for maybe AA to consider (and probably activate) flights to Zagreb, or maybe AA will remain only in DUB. Nevertheless, Dubrovnik's AA flights can't hurt Croatia's tendency to attract long haul flights, the trend for Croatia is that one new long haul flight is opening up almost every year in Croatia (Transat, Emirates, Air Canada, Korea, US), Non-Stop to Asia will probably be next whether readers are happy about that or not! I wish all the SE Europe airports and airlines a lot of luck!

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  15. How many extra passangers could this generate for DBV?

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    1. Maybe 4500-5000 per month without transfers

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    2. Not bad. Overall Dubrovnik has been doing extremely well so far this year passenger wise.

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  16. Bad news for JU as it already extended flights in DBV. JFK route is somehow hurt.

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    1. JU extended flights to Dubrovnik after American's announcment so I don't think they are too worried.

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    2. Take a look at the fares on this American flight and you will realize why those flying JU won't migrate to this seasonal route any time soon. BTW Air Serbia flies to New York, not Philadelphia.

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  17. Do AA's B767s have premium economy?

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    1. More precisely will there be premium eco on this route?

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    2. Yes they do. 21 seats in premium economy.

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    3. But they are retiring this plane and all should be out of service by 2021.

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    4. What could they replace it with on DBV flight?

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    5. They are replacing all 767s with Dreamliners.

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    6. Either A330s or B787s.

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    7. Ah yes, forgot they had A330s too.

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  18. What is the block time for this flighr?

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    1. 9.15 from PHL.

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    2. And 10h30 on the return flight.

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  19. Other then increase frequencies, would it make sense for AA to add another US destination to Dubrovnik some time in the future? I'm not too familiar with AA's hubs so don't know which city could potentially work for them.

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  20. I would love to see a trip report from this route on here :D

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    1. +1 yes please!

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    2. There are AA 767 trip or cabin reports online. Aircraft for DBV is the same as for other destinations. For example:

      https://thepointsguy.com/2018/02/aa-plans-to-make-its-767s-less-terrible/

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  21. Perhaps they could attract some Montenegro bound passengers on this route too.

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  22. An extremely prestigious route. Well done, Dubrovnik.
    I'm sure AA will extend it next year from April to October.

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    1. It depends how much money they will get from Croatia

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    2. Is there a route to Croatia you don't consider extremely prestigious?

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    3. The most prestigeous is ZAG-OMO!

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    4. Croatia usually impresses with its prestigious routes. There are many examples:

      DBV-PHL
      ZAG-SEL
      ZAG-YYZ
      DBV-UK widebodied Dreamliners, etc, etc.

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    5. To be completely fair, Anon at 11:35 said "extremely prestigious route", not just prestigious. There needs to be clear delineation between those two categories. DBV-PHL could qualify for extremely prestigious group as it operated by AA, while those DBV-UK widebody charters are fit for just prestigious group.
      If one day Singapore airlines starts Croatia service with their first class suites on A380 we would need to carve out a new category one level above extremely prestigious.

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  23. Btw United Airlines is also starting flights from Newark to Naples in Italy !
    Daily nonstop.

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