Routes, the 12th World Route Development Forum, will open in Dubai this weekend to a record 2,000 delegates. Many airports and airports groups have bolstered their presence, such is the quality of the airlines attending.
Such is the draw of this unique global networking opportunity that not only are the key airline route planning decision makers attending, but also CEOs and Managing Directors. Etihad Airways and China Southern Airlines are among those being represented at the highest possible level.
Mike Howarth , Chairman of Routes, anticipates the event will facilitate 25,000 one to one meetings between airlines and airports, the majority of which are pre-arranged, with the remainder arranged on site through the extra meetings system . ‘With high level delegations from the likes of the USA, India, Russia, Malaysia, Scandinavia and Australia, Routes in Dubai will be a truly global event,’ he says.
The 300-plus airlines and 600-plus airports, industry organisations and manufacturers represented are further bolstered by the co-located ICAO Liberalisation C onference at the Dubai International Conference and Exhibition Centre, at which a high number of officials from the world’s civil aviation authorities will attend. They have expressed an interest to see Routes ‘at work.’
European slot co-ordinators from EUACA will also be at Routes - from France, Germany, Spain, the UK, Denmark, Hungary, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Portugal - all willing to discuss capacity and constraint issues, current and future, as airlines plan their new routes.
HH Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President, Department of Civil Aviation Dubai and Chairman of Emirates, will kick off the ‘Spotlight’ media programme with a pre-event press conference early Saturday evening. Media can also look forward to a helicopter tour over Dubai, courtesy of AirBP, and a visit to the ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital, which will be situ throughout the duration of Routes.
Other new Spotlight briefings include an account of the rebuilding of New Orleans International Airport and the ADM/OAG New Route Monitor, the showcase for airports and airlines to highlight new routes (for autumn 2006 and spring 2007).
Some 15 new airlines will be hosted in the New Airline Hall - among them new scheduled operator Fly Gibraltar, which plans flights to the UK and Ireland from 2007; Golden International Airlines, an Istanbul, Turkey-based start up; Air Asturias, a low-cost start-up carrier based at Oviedo, in the Asturias region of northern Spain, which plans European and Latin American destinations with Airbus A320 and Boeing 767-300ER aircraft. Gadair European of Madrid, Spain, which plans long haul flights and PTL of Poland, which is currently finalising its air operator’s certificate to commence flights from December this year. ArabJet, a brand new Dubai-based all business class, premium scheduled carrier is also in the New Airline Hall, together with new entrant RAK Airways, which has been established through an Emiri decree as the national carrier for Ras Al Khaimah .
Dubai is renowned for its hospitality and Routes in Dubai will major on this, mirroring not just the location, but the fact that Routes events have grown so much. The 2006 Gala Networking Evening, hosted by the Dubai Department of Civil Aviation, will be hosted in the desert, at a brand new hospitality venue, Al Sahra. With an Arabian theme, it will encompass the Airport Marketing Awards and ORBIS’ new Corporate Social Responsibility Award for commitment and innovation to charities, beyond just making donations.
Traffic between Europe and the ME on the increase
Traffic between Europe and the Middle East continues to grow and this month traffic between these two regions shows the greatest increase at 10%, according to latest statistics from OAG. Paris CDG added a further 56,000 seats on routes to and from the Middle East, 27% more compared with September 2006, it highlights.
The Middle East’s low cost airline players continue to expand. LCC flights within the region show a 77% increase year on year. This is also reflected in the growth of the LCC market as a whole. The number of seats in LCC carriers increased to over 46 million this month, 16% higher than in September 2005. There will be a high proportion of low cost carriers at Routes - including Saudi Arabia’s new carrier Sama.