Dubrovnik Airport is on the verge of having one of its best years of record. Croatia’s southernmost airport received their millionth passenger a few weeks ago and is expecting to handle around 1.6 million by the end of 2015. However the airport isn’t resting on its laurels, far from it, the construction of a new terminal, terminal C, is underway. Dubrovnik Airport is looking forward to a busy 2016. The new investment into Dubrovnik Airport is valued at around 220 million Euros and apart from the construction of the new terminal the project also includes the works on the runway, storage facilities and car parks. With completion of terminal C Dubrovnik Airport will be in the position to handle 3.5 million passengers annually. The entire project is expected to be completed in 2019.
The Croatian National Tourist Board has held negotiations with various airlines ahead of the 2016 season and many carriers have shown interest in introducing or increasing flights to Dubrovnik. Norwegian Air, Germanwings, British Airways, SAS and EasyJet have all held talks with the Croatian National Tourist Board about their plans for 2016. Croatia is a rising tourist destination. In fact so far this year the country has experienced the highest increase in tourists in the whole of the Mediterranean region, with an 8 percent increase in 2015 compared to 2014. Political turmoil in Greece and Turkey and social unrest in northern Africa have all influenced more tourists to travel to Croatia on holiday. And the world’s airlines have been quick to recognise this opportunity, with many looking to expand in 2016.
According to an article by the specialised website EX-YU aviation many airlines are reaping the rewards of connecting Croatia to the rest of Europe. Thomson Airways commented that Croatia was their fastest growing market. They have also announced that they will continue to fly their Boeing 787 Dreamliners to Dubrovnik in 2016. Scandinavian Airlines commented that “this summer we had 51 weekly frequencies from Scandinavia to Croatia and over fourteen different routes. We plan to continue serving Split, Dubrovnik and Pula". And one of the largest budget airlines in the world, EasyJet, has stated that they will increase the number of flights to Dubrovnik next summer season. The airline has announced that they will move forward the starting date of flights to Dubrovnik, meaning that the summer season for 2016 could be extended into early spring. Speaking to EX-YU Aviation the British based airline said that “Croatia is an important market for EasyJet. We carried nearly half a million passengers to and from Croatia last year.” There is no doubt that the summer season in 2016 will be even better than this year, however there are still serious question marks over the winter season in Dubrovnik. The city has virtually no international links throughout the winter months and most flights go through Zagreb. There is also news from British Airways that they will lower the number of flights through this winter and not fly at all through January. The problem of attracting airlines to fly to Dubrovnik in the off-season is one that the airport, or the tourist organisations in the city, hasn’t been able to solve so far. There is a possibility that Dubrovnik will have a direct connection with Frankfurt this winter, with Croatia Airlines, although this is still only in the negotiation phase.