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

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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


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