The most popular budget airline in the world, Ryanair, is set to expand on the Croatian and regional market with amongst others new flights announced to Zadar for the 2017 summer season. Ryanair will introduce to new destinations for the Dalmatian city of Zadar for 2017, new flights to Glasgow and Copenhagen. In 2016 the budget airline was the leading airline flying out of Zadar, carrying a total of 325,000 passengers, a mammoth 65 percent of the total number of passengers. However according to an article on the specialised website EX-YU Aviation there are still some problems that need to be ironed out before the new flights can be fully introduced.
Zadar Airport and the City of Zadar agreed to pay the airline incentives to fly and according to Ryanair there is still an outstanding debt of 612,000 Euros. It can be presumed that this debt will need to be settled before the budget airline continues to expand its connections to Zadar.
Flights to Dubrovnik with Ryanair look like still being on hold, and both the airline and the City of Dubrovnik are tight lipped about the current negotiations. It can be assumed, if the Zadar case is used as an example, that one of the sticking points in the negotiations is the amount of cash incentives the airline is demanding. Ryanair's Route Development Manager, Luis Fernandez-Mellado, said the budget carrier is willing to maintain year-round flights from Dubrovnik, describing it as an extremely interesting destination.
The closest airport to Dubrovnik that operates with Ryanair is Podgorica in Montenegro and the Irish airline has announced even more new routes for 2017. Ryanair opened flights to Podgorica in 2013 and operates to London Stanstead airport all year round. They have now added flights to Berlin and have expanded flights to Charleroi to an all year service. With the Montenegrin capital around a three-hour drive from Dubrovnik this route is the closest Ryanair base. And until negotiations between the low-cost airline and Dubrovnik are resolved it remains the best option for cheap flights during the winter.