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15th World Routes in Beijing to take place in September

‘Perfect Storm’ leads to largest ever gathering of airlines

In just three months the world’s aviation industry will convene in Beijing for the 15th World Routes – the biggest event in the global air transport calendar (13th-15th September). More than 250 airlines are expected to attend with a view to networking with the world’s airports, planning new air services and protecting existing routes.

“This year’s airline presence is strong,” says Katie Bland, Routes Sales and Airline Director. “We are 35 per cent up on airline registrations year-on-year and are expecting many more carriers to come on board as the event approaches.”

Bland attributes the increase of attendance to the fact that airlines are presently being hit by a ‘perfect storm’. “Carriers have to cope with the severe difficulties caused by the recession. Not only are they experiencing a yield squeeze, they are also facing a renewed rise in oil price and increased competition. Furthermore they have to find uses for record aircraft deliveries, ordered in pre-recessionary days, in a marketplace already suffering from excess capacity. These reasons are now driving the airlines to seek out fresh markets, which is opening up new opportunities for airports.”

Most of the world’s leading low-cost carriers will be in Beijing: Wizz Air, easyJet, Ryanair, Norwegian Air Shuttle, Southwest Airlines, Jetblue Airways, Click Mexicana, Clickair and Vueling, to name but a few.

The attending carriers aim to identify new opportunities in Europe and other areas worldwide. Irish flag carrier, Aer Lingus for example will be attending World Routes with the key focus to meet European airports that wish to discuss more routes for summer 2010 from its new hub at London Gatwick.

The size of many airline delegations has also increased allowing them to meet with a wider range of airports and conduct more urgent negotiations. Air Asia, Emirates and easyJet for example will bring up to seven delegates to maximize their time at the event; Air China have 19 delegates attending.

Mike Howarth, Chairman of Routes comments: “The intense pressure on airlines is destroying the old rules of route development. Many carriers are no longer in a position to take the long view and are now reviewing their networks on a month-to-month basis. That is why in the past twelve months the role of airports in route development has changed dramatically. We have research showing that 80 per cent of airports have increased their marketing and financial support to airlines and they expect a greater say as a result. I expect this year’s World Routes to be a vibrant hub of activity.”

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