Here’s Why Vueling Is Launching Paris To Dubrovnik Flights

Vueling recently started selling tickets for flights between Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport and Dubrovnik, Croatia. It becomes the fifth airline to fly between Paris and Dubrovnik, joining Air France, Croatia Airlines, Transavia and easyJet. So why is Vueling joining this fairly crowded market?

Vueling A320
Vueling becomes the fifth airline to fly between Paris and Dubrovnik. Photo: Airbus

The flights

Vueling has scheduled these flights as a twice-weekly service for the whole summer schedule, from Monday 30 March 2020 until Friday 23 October 2020.

The airport in Paris that Vueling chose for the flights is Charles de Gaulle Airport, the home of Air France. Air France already flies between Dubrovnik and Paris seasonally.

Vueling’s flights will take off from Paris at 06:30, arriving in Dubrovnik at 08:45. They will then depart Dubrovnik at 09:25 and return to Paris at 11:55, every Monday and Friday.

The aircraft scheduled for the route is an Airbus A320.

Vueling faces tough competition

The market between Paris and Dubrovnik is already very competitive. Vueling will be the fifth airline to seek its share of the market there.

Croatia Airlines dominates the market, flying from Dubrovnik to Paris Charles de Gaulle five times weekly for the entire summer duration. It uses an Airbus A319 for the route.

The Croatian flag carrier operates these flights in the afternoons, and in this way serves a lot of transfer passengers through Paris. The carrier has codeshare agreements on this route with its Star Alliance partners Asiana Airlines, Air Canada and Air India.

Croatia Airlines parked at Heathrow
Croatia Airlines connects passengers. Photo: Jakov Fabinger, Simple Flying

Air France also flies on this route, and also from March until October.

However, unlike Croatia Airlines, Air France has a more tailored seasonal offering: it flies twice weekly from March until June, daily in July and August, then twice weekly again in September and once weekly in October.

Air France also serves transfer demand from Dubrovnik, through its Paris Charles de Gaulle base and a whole network of European and trans-continental connections it can offer there. Its flights are code-shared by KLM.

Paris-Dubrovnik has a strong LCC segment too

At the same time, two low-cost carriers serve the Paris-Dubrovnik market through Paris’s low-cost airport, Paris Orly. Simple Flying previously compared these two Paris airports here.

Both Transavia and easyJet fly between Dubrovnik and Paris Orly, to serve origin and demand traffic. They compete on price, and their flight times are almost identical on the weekends.

Why this route?

Vueling is joining a tough market. There are two established national airlines there, and Croatia Airlines has been flying this route for years.

Air France and Croatia Airlines offer worldwide connections through their SkyTeam and Star Alliance partners via Paris. At the same time, Transavia and easyJet are incumbent low-cost carriers that offer cheap and frequent connections already.

Here’s Why Vueling Is Launching Paris To Dubrovnik Flights
Transavia already offers low prices between Dubrovnik and Paris – but from Paris Orly Airport, not Charles de Gaulle. Photo: Getty Images

Vueling’s choice of Charles de Gaulle as an airport here is a deliberate one. The airline boasts a base in Paris’s low-cost airport, Paris Orly, from where it flies to 11 Mediterranean airports to serve leisure demand. It is the same type of demand as it will see on its upcoming Paris-Dubrovnik flights, and yet it has opted to fly these out of Charles de Gaulle.

In doing so, Vueling is carving a unique selling point in this market: it will offer low ticket prices and connections across the entire summer season but from Charles de Gaulle. This differentiates it from easyJet’s and Transavia’s offering at Orly Airport.

Furthermore, Vueling has clearly timed these flights to serve origin and demand traffic, with their early departure times. In doing so, it has a competitive advantage against both Croatia Airlines and Air France, whose flights almost always leave after midday.

Lastly, in launching these Vueling flights, IAG itself has stepped into this market that is presently shared across its three competitors: Star Alliance, SkyTeam, and low-cost carriers.

Is this move a signal that IAG has set its sights on Croatia?