Dubrovnik cries foul over Croatia frequency cuts

A new feud between Croatia Airlines and Dubrovnik Airport has erupted after it was revealed the airline will cut down on its frequencies between Zagreb and Dubrovnik during the coming 2013/14 winter season. The Croatian carrier recently announced it would discontinue its year long flights from Dubrovnik to Frankfurt and Paris but said it would add more services between the city and the Croatian capital in order to offer better connections to passengers and compensate for the suspensions. However, in its preliminary schedule, the airline will be cutting down on its frequencies compared to last year with local media claiming the Croatian carrier is in breach of its agreement with the Croatian government.

dubrovnik airport

According to the agreement, Croatia Airlines has a set number of flights it must operate on domestic services until 2016 in order to receive state subsidies. During the winter, Croatia Airlines is obliged to carry out at least 22 weekly flights. The airline plans to operate eighteen this winter. If it goes through with the planned frequency cuts it would be in violation of the agreement. However Croatia Airlines says, “In our agreement with the Ministry for Sea, Transport and Infrastructure, a total number of flights needed to be operated is set on a yearlong basis not on a seasonal basis”. Local press has rejected the airline’s claims as false.

Croatia Airlines, which is set to begin its privatisation process later this year, has held several meetings with local authorities in Dubrovnik recently in order to ease the tension caused by the recent announcements of flight suspensions. The CEO of Dubrovnik Airport, Roko Tolić says, “Dubrovnik is becoming more distant during the winter after years of hard work making the airport busy during the slow months. We have a great challenge ahead of us as we can no longer rely on our partner. We understand that Croatia Airlines must undergo restructuring but we will not sit with our hands crossed. We will look for partners elsewhere”. Croatia Airlines says it is still in the process finalising its winter timetable and all frequency changes are still preliminary.

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