It was announced today that Aberdeen City and Shire will host Routes Europe 2015. The announcement, which took place during a press conference at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC), where the event will be held from April 12-14, 2015, was attended by Cllr. Barney Crockett, Leader of the Council, Aberdeen City Council; Dawn Schultz, City Promotions Manager Economic&Business Development, Aberdeen City Council; Cllr. Peter Argyle- Chair of the Infrastructure Services Committee Aberdeenshire Council; Brian Horsburgh, Managing Director, Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre; Maya Rousen, Project Manager, Scottish Enterprise; Martin Ritchie, Aviation Officer, Transport Scotland; Steve Harris, Chief Executive, VisitAberdeen; Shona Anderson, Regional Director, VisitScotland; David Stroud, Executive Vice President of Routes and Katie Bland, Future Hosts Director for Routes.
Routes Europe is the region’s largest route development forum and enables the aviation industry’s decision makers from across Europe to examine air services, discuss new market opportunities and developments and get up to speed on potential new destinations.
The announcement of Aberdeen as the Host destination for Routes Europe 2015 represents the culmination of a successful bid to host the event which was initiated by Aberdeen International Airport (ABZ) in which all of the region’s key stakeholders were involved in supporting the proposal. These stakeholders include: Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeenshire Council, Aberdeen City and Shire Hotels Association, Aberdeen City and Shire Economic Future, AECC, Aberdeen International Airport, National Trust for Scotland, Scottish Enterprise, Travel Scotland, VisitAberdeen, VisitScotland Business Tourism Unit and VisitScotland.
Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “The Scottish government is working to secure more direct international flights from Scotland and hosting events such Routes Europe supports this ambition. This event is a great opportunity to showcase the continuing strength of the economy of the Northeast and the dynamic nature of Aberdeen International Airport as one of the fastest growing airports in the UK. It is also an opportunity to showcase what Scotland as a whole has to offer airline operators, namely an ambitious, forward-looking country keen to do business with our international neighbours.”
Chairman of Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee, Peter Argyle, commented: “Bringing this significant tourism event to the Northeast is an excellent achievement, and another demonstration that local authorities and their partners are working hard to make the most of what the area has to offer. It is another chance to highlight to those in the travel trade and airline industry just what we have to offer in this area and try to secure even more of the global tourism market. We hope that one of the outcomes will be increased flights and routes to and from Aberdeen International Airport, with one of the major benefits being increased visitors to the region.”
“Aberdeen is one of the very few cities in Europe showing sustained year on year growth,” said Steve Harris, Chief Executive of VisitAberdeen, he continued: “To have 1000 of the European aviation industry’s most senior decision makers coming here, to see not only our vibrant economy but our historic city and fabulous countryside, is a wonderful opportunity. We will be able to demonstrate to airlines the business opportunities that links with Aberdeen could bring them and any new routes that we can gain as a result will benefit us all and further strengthen our industries.”
Carol Benzie is the Airport’s Commercial Director. She said: “Securing Routes Europe in 2015 is a major achievement for everyone involved. The profile that this conference will bring to the region is hard to overstate. The event brings airlines and industry leaders from around the globe to the city and will ensure that the delegates get a chance to see what the wider region has to offer.” Ms. Benzie went on to say: “Our ability to host major events and showcase our area will be one of the key outcomes of Routes Europe in 2015, and will provide a lasting legacy within the industry. As a team, we are very much looking forward to playing our part in what will be a milestone event.”
Council leader Barney Crockett said: “Routes Europe is quite simply the most prestigious and significant conference in its class. As the beating heart of Europe’s oil and gas economy, Aberdeen has taken a big step forward onto the travel and tourism industry stage in attracting this huge travel event. Part of the attraction of the city has clearly been the Team Aberdeen approach, and I thank all of our partners. The airport plays a central role in our economy, and I believe the conference opens a way to extend Aberdeen’s offer of air travel.”
Aberdeen is the gateway to Scotland’s castle and whisky country. Scotland’s Castle trail runs through the heart of Aberdeenshire, and the region is home to 13 of the world’s most unique castles. Aberdeen is also known as “the Granite City” named for its sparkling buildings, built from locally-quarried grey granite and elegant architecture. The city’s old town, Old Aberdeen, dates back to the 1400s and is home to the oldest granite cathedral in the world, St. Machar’s Cathedral. The city, which is home to around 250,000 inhabitants, is within 15 minutes of the stunning countryside which surrounds Aberdeen and is also the capital of the Grampian Highlands with the majestic Grampian Mountains dominating the skyline to the west and miles of unspoiled coastline to the east.
“We are delighted to announce that Aberdeen will be our host city for the 10th Routes Europe in 2015. Delegates will experience the economically vibrant region of the Northeast of Scotland and the myriad of business and leisure opportunities on offer,” commented David Stroud, Executive Vice President for Routes, who went on to say: “Aberdeen International Airport is already well connected across Europe and will allow easy access for delegates. Routes Europe has experienced substantial year on year growth, and the AECC will offer plenty of scope for further growth in 2015. The Aberdeen partners demonstrated a highly-unified and aligned approach in their bid to host the event, and we look forward to working with Team Aberdeen towards Routes Europe 2015 to further develop air service into ABZ.”
Aberdeen provides a great example of the interconnection between air connectivity and economic growth. Aberdeen International Airport operates over 80 daily scheduled routes and recently went through a runway extension allowing for new international and national flights into the city. Over 60% of the airport’s passenger traffic is business traffic predominantly driven by the energy industry, and the airport also has one of the biggest commercial helicopter operations in the world, carrying over 500,000 passengers per year. Improving international air connectivity continues to be a key area for the development of Scotland’s globally-competitive business environment, and Routes Europe is an ideal opportunity for Scotland to showcase its economic development potential and the opportunities that exist for the development of new air links to Europe. With daily services to many regional destinations, such as London Heathrow, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Amsterdam Schiphol, Copenhagen, and Frankfurt, Aberdeen International Airport provides the highest level of hub connectivity of any UK regional airport.