easyJet is planning a huge expansion into the Croatia market for 2017 including many new routes added to Dubrovnik. In total easyJet has added seven new routes for next year to Croatia of which four will be operating to Dubrovnik Airport. The low-cost airline is an important partner for Dubrovnik and since 2009 has transported over 1 million passengers to Dubrovnik. This year easyJet was the second busiest airline flying into Dubrovnik, bringing just under 190,000 passengers, after Croatia Airlines. And 2017 will be another bumper year as new flights from Basel, Belfast, Manchester and Naples will be introduced to Dubrovnik.
In a report on the specialised website EX-YU aviation the senior route manager of easyJet, Dimitris Schoinas, commented that "We are pleased to be announcing a significant investment in Croatia making nearly one million seats available to and from the country in 2017. The new flights will offer more choice to European tourists to spend their holidays in the beautiful seaside resorts of Croatia, as well as to Croatian passengers to connect to Europe".
The news that easyJet will increase their operations to Dubrovnik comes after news that the biggest low-cost airline in the world, Ryanair, will not fly to Dubrovnik next year. The director of Dubrovnik Airport, Roko Tolic, commented at the recent Southeast Europe Aviation Summit that Ryanair’s terms were “unacceptable” and that the airport has the same conditions for all airlines. Talks between the airline and the airport, as well as the City of Dubrovnik, had been going on but it would seem that they have now broken down. It can be assumed that Ryanair had demanded significant tax breaks and incentives to fly to Dubrovnik, which they already enjoy at other airports in Croatia such as Zadar. And during the summer months Dubrovnik Airport is already extremely busy, this year almost 2 million passengers passed through in a record year, so the addition of Ryanair is not as necessary as it is in other Croatian airport. However the budget airline had also promised to operate flights through the winter months which would have been much more attractive for the city’s tourism industry.