Vancouver, Canada, 20 September 2010
Routes today welcomed over 2,500 delegates to the 16th World Routes, the largest annual gathering of the commercial air transport community, being held in the Vancouver Convention Centre, Canada, from the 19thto 21st September.
At the opening press conference, Nigel Mayes, Managing Director of Routes, said: "We are delighted to be here in Vancouver, where World Routes is being held for the first time in North America. This year, we have more airline delegates attending than ever before, with some 450 delegates representing over 250 airlines. The event also sees a new dimension to our products, with lots of innovations, such as a cargo conference being co-located with the event and a bigger range of meeting opportunities. We have added more content to World Routes, all of which is ultimately focused on ensuring that even more route development takes place at the event."
This year has seen a surge in product development, including the introduction of the 'Routes Talks' Seminar Theatre, which will host presentations by airlines, airports and tourism authorities as well as route development workshops; an increased cargo focus, which includes both a significant rise in the number of cargo delegates and the co-location of Air Cargo Week's Air Cargo Conference; and the inaugural Routes Club, which will see attending Routes delegates mixing with members of the Star Alliance Network Advisory Group Meeting at a luncheon with Horst Findeisen, Vice President of Business Development at Star Alliance, making a keynote speech.
The key innovations have been in relation to the meetings, which remain the focus of the event. For the first time, delegates with Hosted Networking Stands are able to pre-schedule 50-minute strategic meetings, to take place on their stand. Not only does this mean that the meetings can be more in-depth and detailed business cases discussed, but also that they can be in a more private setting suitable for negotiations. Additionally, there are more Airline Meeting Chalets, which, for the first time, have been moved into the centre of the Networking Village. In response to this, many airlines have sent larger and more senior delegations to World Routes this year, from departments such as procurement and industry affairs, and including network planners, CEOs and revenue managers.
Following the success of the Airline Briefings at this year's regional events, World Routes is also scheduled to see a record number of Airline Briefings. These allow carriers to brief airports and tourism authorities on the aircraft capacity available for potential new routes, their network aspirations, planning cycle and what they expect to see from airports and tourism authorities. Airlines holding briefings include KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Jetstar Airways, Norwegian.com, Monarch Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Ryanair, Hainan Airlines and US Airways.
As every year, World Routes will be complemented by a range of co-located events. The ICAO/World Bank/Routes Global Aviation Strategy Summit (GASS), the Tourism & Air Services (TAS) Summit and ACED: Aviation - The Catalyst for Economic Development Conference & Exhibition all offer a further dynamic to the event, allowing delegates to consider a broader range of industry trends and debate topical issues in a lively setting. The co-located events in particular will see high-ranking industry professionals in attendance, a trend that is reflected in the delegates at World Routes.
For Larry Berg, President and CEO of Vancouver International Airport (YVR), the benefits of hosting World Routes are apparent: "Routes offers us an opportunity to tell the YVR story to airlines that don't currently fly here - a story of low-cost and high-service, entrepreneurial spirit and passenger travel innovation," said Berg. "Our goal is to build YVR as a global gateway of choice, and we do so by being an airport that airlines want to serve. Our efforts are paying off, as one in ten passengers use YVR as their connection between North America and the Asia Pacific region."
For further information on World Routes, visit the official website at www.routesonline.com.