[Video & Photo Gallery] Dubrovnik Airport Celebrates 60th Birthday

At the Beginning of the 1960s, a Decision Was Made to Build a New Airport...

Dubrovnik Airport is celebrating its 60th anniversary of operation and existence at its current location. On that occasion, a solemn celebration was held, during which the monograph ’60 years of Dubrovnik Airport’ by author Marijo Raguž was presented.

‘At the beginning of the 1960s, a decision was made to build a new airport at a location in Konavle. Given that the previous location of the airport in Konavosko polje, near Popovići and Gruda, was often covered with water, and the runway was grassy, ​​it was not capable of accepting the jet planes that had already begun to travel around the world. Thus, a new runway with other maneuvering surfaces was built very quickly, as well as the other most necessary infrastructural facilities so that aircraft, passengers, goods and mail could be properly accepted and dispatched. Thanks to the increasing development of tourism, the traffic increased rapidly and in the first nine years it increased by as much as nine times,’the director of the Dubrovnik Airport, Frano Luetić, said.

The first million passengers

Luetić mentioned some relevant years related to the history of the airport. In 1978, the airport achieved one million passengers for the first time, and in 1987, almost one million and 700 thousand passengers passed through the airport.

‘Unfortunately, in 1991, due to the aggression against the Republic of Croatia and the occupation of the Croatian south and the airport, traffic was interrupted. A year later, in 1992, the airport was liberated and painstaking reconstruction began, which is ongoing,’ he pointed out. He mentioned the year 2005, when traffic of one million passengers is again achieved.

‘In 2015 the traffic from the best pre-war year is exceded. The year 2019 was a record year in the history of the airport. Then we achieved three million passengers’ – he said. But the trouble comes again.

‘During the first two months of 2020, we prepared for the fact that this year will be another record year. We have already started accepting temporary workers and preparing so that there are no shortages in terms of manpower and equipment. However, the unfortunate coronavirus pandemic started and unfortunately the airport had to be closed in March. So that in 2020, 11 percent of the turnover from 2019 was achieved. Better signs followed with the easing of the COVID virus measurements and 2021 was an optimistic year. We reached a little less than one million passengers, or 30 percent of the traffic from 2019’, he added. He also said that this year, 2022, has positively surprised us all together.

‘Given that the entire aviation industry has stagnated, this has also affected the air traffic in the Republic of Croatia was also affected, especially in the far south of Croatia and the Dubrovnik Airport. However, the turnover gradually grew, so that during these days we reached over 80 percent of the turnover from 2019. We are more than satisfied with that,’ he pointed out – ‘also, we are happy that we finished the reconstruction of Dubrovnik Airport.’
He referred to the employees as well as the companies operating at the Dubrovnik Airport.
‘Our Airport is represented by all our employees. We are proud that the majority of our employees are from the Konavle area, followed by Dubrovnik, Župa dubrovačka and other parts of our county. Both in the past and today, the airport provided a decent existence for many families in southern Croatia. The airport is not only represented by Zračna luka d.o.o.. Many institutions and companies operate here, without which flights would not be possible. Primarily, I am referring to the Croatian Air Navigation Control, without which no plane could land or take off, as well as the airlines, the Ministry of the Interior, the service branch, the emergency medical service… ‘, he concluded.

About the monograph

The monograph ’60 years of Dubrovnik Airport’ shows the rich history of the airport in words and pictures. Author Marijo Raguž thanked the airport employees, without whom, as he says, ‘all this would not have happened’.

‘Big thank you to Mr frano Luetić, who recognized my work on previous monographs and my work on aviation history in general. He gave me the honor and privilege to participate in such an event,’ he added. The monograph is a continuation of the previous two monographs, related to Dubrovnik Airport. The new one is divided into three parts.

Actresses Nika Burđelez and Jelena Perčin Otašević led all those present through the 60 years anniversaray programme, while Marko Bošnjak and Vlaho Arbulić were in charge of the music programme.