A successful Routes Europe event came to a close today in Marseille, which has seen a record number of delegates descend on the city to discuss the future of Europe’s air traffic, making this year’s event the largest regional route development event ever.
The event was officially handed over to Aberdeen City and Shire, the host of the 2015 event, earlier today during a superb networking lunch which saw Lord Provost of Aberdeen George Adam, Aberdeenshire Provost Jill Webster and Aberdeen International Airport managing director Carol Benzie accept the event which will take place at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC) from 12-14 April 2015.
The Lord Provost said: “There is a palpable excitement building about Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire hosting Routes Europe next year. Aberdeen International Airport is growing at a fantastic rate, with two new air services taking off in the last week alone. Aberdeen is playing in a league of much bigger cities than previously, competing with the likes of Marseille and Berlin. When we won the bid to host Routes Europe 2015, we said it was a huge vote of confidence in the economy of Aberdeen and its future. The support and excitement the news has attracted within the city region, Scotland and the UK is a clear demonstration of that confidence.”
“Routes Europe provides a fantastic opportunity to market Aberdeen to every airline and airport in Europe, and hosting the event will undoubtedly bring great benefits to the city and wider region. Team Scotland and the local collective working in Marseille this week will learn a great deal about how Routes Europe is run and the work which goes into it, which will help to ensure that the Aberdeen event is a huge success.”
Aberdeenshire Provost Jill Webster said: “This important event provides a platform for industry leaders to discuss market opportunities and consider Scotland as a key destination for flights from around the world. I’m delighted it’s coming to Aberdeen next year on its first outing to the UK and this is an excellent opportunity to showcase the North-east of Scotland to the rest of the world.
“By hosting Routes Europe we can raise the profile of Aberdeen International Airport amongst airlines and support ongoing route development efforts. This is a chance to promote our area to people at the heart of decision making on aviation matters, and they will be given a taste of Scotland in Aberdeenshire. I will be delighted to welcome delegates to a gala night I’m hosting at Castle Fraser, and they will also be offered a chance to sample the world-class golfing we have on our doorstep.”
An ambitious £15 million redevelopment is already underway at Aberdeen International Airport (AIA), designed to transform the customer experience. The project comes hot on the heels of a 24% increase in passenger numbers since 2011, the addition of a number of new routes including Corfu and Riga, and saw the airport enjoy its busiest ever year last year. Passenger numbers are forecast to grow further in the coming decade and this significant investment will ensure the team can continue to deliver excellence in customer service. With 65% of its passengers using the airport for business trip purposes, AIA is the best connected regional airport in the UK for daily hub connections and the best connected UK-UK airport in the country.
Aberdeen International Airport MD Carol Benzie said: “I was delighted to be on stage as the handover took place, and all eyes are now firmly on Aberdeen as we prepare for 2015. The arrival of the event in the North-east of Scotland next year will mean a lot for the airport and the wider region that we serve. We hope that by bringing the aviation industry to our doorstep they will see the benefits of doing business with us, and we look forward to giving them a good Scottish welcome.”
Visit Aberdeen chief executive Steve Harris added: “Aberdeen has so much to offer in terms of history, culture, attractions and economic growth. It is a city on the move, a city of opportunity. We are delighted to be able to welcome travel industry partners to share it with us.”
“Routes Europe is the largest of our regional events and we have experienced significant growth this year with 115 airlines, 380 airports and over 1200 delegates in total,” commented Katie Bland, Director Routes for UBM Live continuing: “When the event moves to Aberdeen next year, delegates will experience the economically vibrant region of the North-East of Scotland and the multitude of business and leisure opportunities on offer. Aberdeen International Airport is already well connected across Europe and will allow easy access for delegates. We are looking forward to working with the Aberdeen team and to the 10th Routes Europe in 2015.”
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.