Thursday, 13 May 2021

Pragusa CEO Kresimir Budinski Interview on US Flights to Croatia, Expansion Plans

May 13, 2021 - TCN's announcement of direct flights to Dubrovnik from LA and New York with PRAGUSA.ONE earlier this month was met with a combination of joy and skepticism. An interview with PRAGUSA.ONE CEO Kresimir Budinski.

If I had a dollar for every flight announcement or new airline that was starting in Croatia over the last decade... 

After the near-collapse of the global aviation industry last year due to the pandemic, some airlines and routes are coming back stronger than before. Ryanair's aggressive entry into the Zagreb market and its challenging of Croatian Airlines subsidies is huge news for the Croatian capital, but down in Dubrovnik, the luxury tourism sector is buzzing at the flight announcements from the United States. 

I got a LOT of criticism when I reported that Delta were set to announce direct flights from New York to Dubrovnik, a full week before the official announcement. I am long enough in this business to know that speculation without confirmation is counterproductive. But as my sources for Delta were rock solid, I was confident enough to publish - and be the first with the news. 

Interest from the North American market is huge. TCN, through its award-winning Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber community, Kresimir Macan and Nikolina Vicelic, organised a trip for ABC News to Dubrovnik last summer, which culminated in 6 feature stories on American travel to Dubrovnik, including this one above on Good Morning America, which was watched by 12.5 million people. 

Many people have been working very hard on establishing direct flights to Croatia from North America, and the announcement on April 19 that United would fly from New York to Dubrovnik turned out to be just the first in a series of good news stories. 

The news got even better on May 2, as TCN was first to publish news of direct flights to Kings Landing from both New York AND Los Angeles with a new airline, PRAGUSA.ONE.


The news was met with a mixture of joy and skepticism. Who was this airline, and how could they pull off such flights?

I decided to reach out to the PRAGUSA.ONE CEO, Kresimir Budinski, to ask him directly. We met for a couple of cold ones in Dubrovnik recently, where I asked him for more details. The good news is that he does exist, seems very committed, and is clearly passionate about what he does. Will these flights happen? I obviously don't have the answer, so let me hand over to a man with more knowledge on the subject, and you can judge for yourself. 

1. You have announced direct flights from Los Angeles and New York to Dubrovnik, which is amazing, congratulations! Not many people have heard of PRAGUSA.ONE, so could you first tell us a little about your company?

PRAGUSA.ONE Ltd is a company established in August 2020 with its headquarters in London, United Kingdom. The company is established as a travel company with a 5Y transformation plan to become an airline with tailored travel products operating on a point-to-point basis. It is a privately owned company.

2. And now tell us how you managed to do what so many others have tried and failed?

The market is passing currently through a big transformation due to the COVID-19 outbreak. It is the opportunity for new ideas and new business strategies to grab its position in the process of market recovery.


3. Is it a secret to tell us how you managed to pull this off?

Almost a year of hard work where we combined our skills, experience, and market conditions. Decisions are made on time and we are on the right way to become a successful company.

4. Can you tell us a little about the negotiating process with Croatian authorities? This is a particular area of interest to me...

We had contact with two institutions. Dubrovnik Airport and Croatian Civil Aviation Agency were introduced with the project and our intentions in September 2020. Both institutions welcomed our project at that time.

5. Your message to the many skeptics out there?

There is no message. Leave them to live in their cosmos. Sending a message and trying to change their mindsets is a job for the psychotherapist.

6. Tell us about the demand for Croatia from North America. Both United and Delta have also announced New York to Dubrovnik connections.

There is a lot of demand for all three companies. Even there is a space to scale up incoming capacity. So far 2000+ individuals registered to travel with PRAGUSA.ONE. Dozen of US travel agents received our full travel package offers and we expect to sell our capacity in the next 30 days. The total incoming capacity of PRAGUSA.ONE is 30,400 seats. It means that all three companies have the capacity of 50,000 seats from the US until the end of October 2021.


7. If this summer goes as you hope, what are your further plans for PRAGUSA.ONE and Croatia?

Our long-term plan is to open direct flights in 2022 from Los Angeles, New York, Johannesburg, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Beijing, Chengdu, and Tokyo. We will operate from 2 bases, Prague and Dubrovnik with the fleet of Airbus A330 and A350. Alongside that, we have a special focus on the Chinese market development and a special Airbus A350 sub fleet to operate just China.

8. And finally, the details. When do flights from New York and LA to Dubrovnik start, how often, when do they stop, how much do they cost, and when and where can we buy tickets?

First flights scheduled for 21st June 2021 with the flight to New York (EWR) followed by the first flight to Los Angeles (LAX) on 22nd June 2021. Both flights will operate three flights per week. Fares are starting from $790 for one-way and $1,190 return on New York route. Fares on Los Angeles route are starting at $990 for one-way and $1,490 return economy. Reservations are available on PRAGUSA.ONE website and ticket sales start on 24th May 2021 (


9. And finally, finally... on a scale of 1% to 100%, how confident are you that these flights will happen?


This is a story we will be following closely, and we will post updates as soon as we have them.

In the meantime, more information on the official PRAGUSA.ONE website

For the latest flight news, check out the dedicated flights to Croatia section.

Flying to Croatia in 2021? What you need to know in the TC Flights to Croatia guide

Sunday, 2 May 2021

Pragusa Announces Direct Flights from New York, Los Angeles to Dubrovnik

A LinkedIn message from the Managing Director of Pragusa One, Kresimir Budinski, with some UNBELIEVABLE news. The press release in full. 


London (3/5/2021) - Pragusa.One is delighted to announce non-stop flights from the United States to Croatia this summer. Three weekly flights from Los Angeles (LAX) and New York (EWR) to Dubrovnik (DBV) will be operated by Airbus A330 and A340 aircraft. The inaugural flight from New York scheduled for 21st June 2021 followed by the inaugural flight from Los Angeles scheduled for 22nd June 2021. The service will be maintained until the end of October 2021.

The company will operate Airbus A330-300 between New York and Dubrovnik offering 15,700 seats in total. The flights will operate on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday from New York and Dubrovnik.

Airbus A340 will be engaged on the flights between Los Angeles and Dubrovnik offering 14,700 seats in total. The flights will operate on Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday from Los Angeles and Dubrovnik.

“We worked hard since summer 2020 to create this unique product for avid travelers that are ready and steady to fly abroad. Point-to-point flight operations bundled with a full travel package and premium in-flight service are key success factors for the ultimate travel experience in the future. The US market represents one of the focus markets for Pragusa.One” said Kresimir Budinski, managing director at Pragusa.One Ltd.

Ticket sales start on 24th May 2021. Group reservations and information on full travel packages available to travel agents per request over email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or website

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About Us

Pragusa.One Ltd. is a UK-based travel company established in August 2020. The company is offering full travel packages to Europe from America, Asia, and South Africa with a focus on Central and Eastern Europe (CEE).

Media inquiries: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Looking for information about the Pearl of the Adriatic? Check out the Total Croatia Dubrovnik in a Page guide.

For the latest flight updates, check out the TC Flights to Croatia page.

Friday, 2 April 2021

What's Next for Croatian Start-up Carrier Pragusa.One? Network, Fleet, and Plans Revealed

April 2, 2021 - "Tailored travel products and an airline for the globetrotters!" New Croatian start-up carrier Pragusa.One revealed its plans for launching premium economy long-haul flights from Dubrovnik to North America, Africa, and Asia.

Will there be flights from Dubrovnik to New York, Beijing, and more international destinations in the near future? According to Pragusa.One there will be, as the new Croatian start-up is looking to serve the United States, China, Japan, and more from bases in Dubrovnik and Prague.

You may recall us announcing the news at the beginning of March, and now, Ex Yu Aviation has even more details on the Pragusa.One network, fleet, and plans 

“We are going to start as a travel agency but in the next three years, we will make the transition towards becoming an airline, since AOC [Air Operator’s Certificate] certification will take some time. In Croatia, we are going to apply for an AOC which will take ten to twelve months. Until then, we will operate with our partner on a full charter basis. We expect to sign an agreement with them in the next couple of days. We will convert the wet-lease into a dry-lease by 2024. We expect to launch our booking and reservation system by the end of April, but the start of operations will depend on travel restrictions," said the Pragusa.One CEO, Krešimir Budinski.

Namely, Pragusa.One will sell seven and fourteen-day tour packages to Dubrovnik and Prague, while offering point-to-point flights through a wet-lease arrangement with a partner.

“We have hired a former CEO from one big airline. We will be releasing more information on that soon. We will initially start operations with wet-leased A330s and A350s. We are in advanced talks with Airbus to get brand new A350s in a single class all premium economy configuration by 2024. The A330s will be used for medium-haul destinations and the A350s will be utilized for long-haul flights. We decided to launch an all premium economy airline because there is a team of aviation and travel professionals behind Pragusa.One who have studied how airlines used this configuration in the past. We saw an opportunity, especially after the Covid-19 pandemic hit, to offer point-to-point flights for premium passengers, which is why the A350s will have an all-economy layout”, Budinski said.

Fights from New York and Los Angeles to Dubrovnik could be the first to launch. 

“New York and LA to Croatia may be launched first. There is big demand from South Africa and China too. We also have partners in China supporting this project, among which are tour operators and the Chinese Civil Aviation Authority. At this point, fifteen people, mostly aviation and travel professionals, have been working on this project since last summer. It is backed by private investors from the aviation industry. Our investors have over twenty years of experience in aviation investments. We also conducted market research and saw a small niche of travelers who are keen to pay more to get premium service, which is what we are aiming to offer. We will provide seven and fourteen-day trips to Prague and Dubrovnik, which will be our main source of revenue, but we will also sell long-haul flights which will be available in major GDS systems," Budinski concluded.

You can follow Pragusa.One HERE.

To see more flights to Croatia, CLICK HERE.

For the latest travel updates and COVID-19 news from Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Flying to Dubrovnik or want to learn more about the Adriatic Pearl? CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, 9 March 2021

Pragusa Launching Flights from Dubrovnik to New York, Beijing, and Tokyo this Summer?

March 9, 2021 - Will there be flights from Dubrovnik to New York, Beijing, and more international destinations this summer? One new British startup is looking to serve the United States, China, Japan, and more from bases in Dubrovnik and Prague. Meet Pragusa. 

Croatian Aviation reports that Pragusa, a startup founded in Great Britain, has interesting plans for Dubrovnik in the upcoming summer season.

Namely, Pragusa (a combination of the names of Prague and Dubrovnik - Ragusa) plans to launch an interesting program in the upcoming summer flight schedule, and base two wide-body aircraft in both cities to launch lines to world-famous destinations!

According to Simple Flying, the company has already received an incentive support program from both airports and plans to base two aircraft in both cities. 

Pragusa plans to offer direct flights from Dubrovnik to New York, Los Angeles, Kuala Lumpur, Chengdu, Beijing, Tokyo, Singapore, and Johannesburg from June this year, hoping to fill a market gap for premium travel to CE Europe. 

Recall, American Airlines will not run the daily Philadelphia-Dubrovnik service this summer, while Qatar Airways canceled the Doha-Dubrovnik route.

"Before the pandemic, American Airlines used to operate flights between Philadelphia and Dubrovnik. Booking data via OAG Traffic Analyser shows that approximately two-thirds of all passengers that American Airlines flew on this route were transfer passengers.

The majority of them came from Chicago (ORD), Los Angeles (LAX), San Francisco (SFO), Boston (BOS), and Charlotte (CLT). A total of over 10,000 passengers reached Dubrovnik by transferring on this American Airlines service to Philadelphia alone," Simple Flying writes. 

The Pragusa fleet should consist of two aircraft types A350-900 and two types A330-300, with custom capacity. Namely, the aircraft will have only one class in the passenger cabin, or premium economy, with a maximum capacity of 250 passengers.

Simply Flying adds that Pragusa passengers will have a choice:

- 7-day trip with organized tours in the destination, e.g. New York - Dubrovnik - New York,

- 14-day trip to Europe with arrival in Dubrovnik and return from Prague (or vice versa),

- the possibility of buying a one-way ticket, e.g. Dubrovnik - Tokyo,

- classic return tickets on the listed lines.

Croatian Aviation believes that the plan is, to say the least, optimistic, especially in this crisis year. The realization of a project of this scale might not be so risky in the record 2019, but given the reduced passenger demand and the current restrictions on travel between countries, it is really brave to launch such a project today?

What do you think about the potential of Pragusa launching flights from Dubrovnik to New York and more this summer?

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