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EX-YU Aviation News: American eyes Dubrovnik service

exyuaviation.com/2018/06/american-eyes-dubro…

The world's largest carrier, American Airlines, is considering introducing seasonal flights to Dubrovnik. According to the "TangoSix" portal, the company is in talks with the airport over a seasonal service from Philadelphia. A decision on the matter is expected within the next month. American operates a number of seasonal flights to Europe from its Philadelphia hub including Athens, Barcelona, Budapest, Frankfurt, Glasgow, Lisbon, Prague, Shannon and Venice. This year, the airline expanded its reach from Philadelphia into Europe with two weekly seasonal flights to Budapest and Prague. Both are operated by its Boeing 767-300 aircraft. The move is seen as affirming American’s commitment to Philadelphia as a trans-Atlantic gateway.

Dubrovnik Airport has identified the United States and South Korea as two far-away markets which could sustain services to the coastal city. Speaking to EX-YU Aviation News, Dubrovnik Airport's General Manager, Frano Luetić, said, "These two far-away markets are the most important for Dubrovnik. According to the city's tourist board, visitors from the US are the second most common, behind those from the United Kingdom, which is specific to the Dubrovnik region. On the other hand, Korean tourists are most plentiful during the winter months". With exception to several summer charters from Japan, operated by All Nippon Airways, Dubrovnik Airport currently has no regular long haul flights.

In 2016, local authorities said they were seeking a partner for the introduction of a two weekly, year-round, New York - Dubrovnik service. At the time, the now former Mayor, Andro Vlahušić, said, "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. A two weekly service from New York would significantly contribute to the tourism industry during the winter months". Commenting on possible services to Croatia, American Airlines said, "American constantly evaluates our network to ensure we are maximising our fleet and profitability while matching customer demand. While no airline can serve every destination, our joint businesses and alliances with airlines like British Airways and membership in Oneworld allows our customers to seamlessly connect to Croatia".

Dubrovnik Airport has recorded strong passenger growth so far this year. In May it welcomed 291.453 passengers through its doors, representing an increase of 14.8% on 2017. During the January - May period, the airport handled 537.152 travellers, up 13.4%.