Routes Europe, now in its 7th year, will see a record number of attendees when the 2012 event opens in Tallinn in four days’ time. The event will be hosted by Tallinn Airport at the Radisson Blu Hotel Olümpia in Estonia’s historic capital.
Over 175 airline delegates representing 85 of Europe’s leading airlines will be represented at Routes Europe, which will take place from May 20-22. This amounts to a 35 percent growth in airline delegate numbers from last year’s event, which was held in Cagliari, Italy, making Routes Europe 2012 the largest European route development event ever.
Toomas Hendrik Ilves, President of the Republic of Estonia, will open a Networking Evening, which will include the Routes Airport Marketing Awards, on Monday, May 21, at Tallinn Song Festival Grounds. Routes Europe 2012 will be the largest event ever to take place in Estonia after the Eurovision Song Contest in 2002.
For the first time ever, Routes Europe 2012 will open with the Routes Europe Strategy Forum. A keynote address from Mr. Siim Kallas, Vice President European Commission, responsible for transport, will open the forum on Sunday, May 20.
Flag carriers will be strongly represented in Tallinn with 6 delegates in attendance from Lufthansa and registrations also received from CSA-Czech Airlines, Turkish Airlines, SAS Scandinavian Airlines, Estonian Ai, and Alitalia.
In addition, a significant low-cost carrier presence is expected with registrations from Ryanair, easyJet, Norwegian, Germanwings, Vueling, Jet2.com, transavia.com, and airberlin, which will make its inaugural appearance at Routes Europe this year. Also attending the event for the first time is Spanish start-up carrier Volotea.
Regional airlines will also be out in force with confirmed registrations received from SkyWork Airlines, Blue Islands, Flybe, Germania, Darwin Airline, Danube Wings, and Skyways Express, along with a strong Russian participation including Aeroflot, S7, Rossiya, and UT Air.
“We will have a record number of delegates at Routes Europe this year,” said David Stroud, Executive Vice President Airports, Routes for UBM Aviation, “This growth is beyond even our expectations, and we are delighted that Routes Europe continues to attract the key decision makers from the region and plays an important role in shaping Europe’s future networks.”
“Estonia’s aviation market is the fastest growing in Europe, and Tallinn Airport is almost there to becoming the coziest airport in the world,” said Erik Sakkov, Member of the Board for Tallinn Airport, “That’s why we feel there is no better place to host the top event of European aviation industry, and we are incredibly honored to do just that. As a small country, we know perfectly well why Estonia and Tallinn are a perfect travel destination, but much of the international travel industry is not aware of it yet. By hosting Routes Europe 2012, let me promise you – we are determined to correct that issue.”
A panel of leading industry experts will take part in a number of moderator-led discussions during the Strategy Summit, which will address issues affecting aviation and route development across the region. Sessions will cover The Eurozone Crisis, the impacts of regulation, and explore whether now is a good time to sell an airport. High-level delegates involved in the panel sessions include, among many others, Mr. Tero Taskila, President&CEO of Estonian Air; Mr. Fernado Estrada, Strategy&Alliances Director for Vueling; Mr. Kjartan Jonsson, Director Network Planning for Icelandair; Mr. Eric Herbane, Head of French Airport Slot Coordination, EUACA; Mr. Wojciech Prokopowicz, Investor Relations for Warsaw Modlin Airport; and Mr. Zafer Mese, Airline Marketing, Business Development&Investments Europe for TAV Airport Holdings.
In addition to the one-to-one meetings taking place at the event, this year’s Route Exchange program will see 5 carriers deliver an overview of their route development opportunities and how airports can be part of their airline expansion. The carriers delivering briefings, which are open to all attending airports, are easyJet, Monarch Airlines, Ryanair, SkyWork Airlines, and Volotea.