Guangzhou, the third largest city in China and capital of Guangdong Province, has won a highly-competitive bid to host the World Routes air service development forum in 2018.
World Routes is a unique event that moves from city to city every year to highlight different international aviation markets. It is the only route development forum that brings together aviation professionals to discuss new air services on a global scale.
The 24th annual World Routes forum will be hosted by Guangdong Airport Authority, the operator of the third busiest airport in China – Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport. Around 3,000 of the most senior decision makers from 300 airlines, 700 airports and 130 tourism authorities are expected to attend the event.
Founded in 214 BC, Guangzhou is an historic port on the Pearl River near the South China Sea. Known for its perennial blooming plants, the ‘City of Flowers’ has been an integral part of Guangdong Province’s economic boom since the 1990s. The largest importer and exporter in China with a nominal GDP of 6.779 trillion yuan (US$1.104 trillion), Guangdong contributes towards 12% of China’s national economic output.
Guangzhou has cultivated a thriving conference industry since the first biannual China Import and Export Fair (also known as the Canton Fair) was held in 1957. The largest international trade event in China, each fair attracts 200,000 visitors from over 200 countries to generate a gross turnover of US$20 billion.
World Routes 2018 will support Guangzhou’s economic development by bringing the international aviation industry to the city. It is a major opportunity to showcase Guangzhou’s commercial strength and the expansion of Baiyun International Airport, which has gained 67 new international services since 2011 including San Francisco, Frankfurt, Rome, Moscow and London.
A second terminal is being constructed at Baiyun International Airport to increase the airport’s maximum annual capacity to 80 million passengers (it currently handles 55 million a year) when it opens in 2017. The long-term aim is for the airport to have five runways and three terminals to handle 62,000 flights, 100 million passengers and three million tons of cargo a year.
World Routes 2018 will also support President Xi Jinping’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative. The purpose of One Belt, One Road is to create a modern day Silk Road from China through to Central and Western Asia, the Middle East and Europe; strengthening the country’s trade relations through greater international connections by air, land and sea.
Katie Bland, Director of Routes, said: “China is the world’s second largest aviation market and it is continuing to grow. By 2034 it will have overtaken the USA as the busiest market with 1.196 billion passengers a year.
“Within China, Guangzhou is a powerful driving force of the national economy. It is taking a leading role in China’s national strategy to improve international transport connections so it is an excellent destination for the world’s aviation industry.”
Mr. Zhang Kejian, Chairman of the Board, Guangdong Airport Authority, said: “The development of Guangzhou Baiyun Airport as a giant international air hub is an essential part of the national Chinese strategy to enhance the status of its civil aviation from ‘large’ to ‘powerful’.
“Taking the great opportunity of hosting World Routes 2018 will definitely improve Baiyun Airport’s international connections, further boost national and regional economic and social development, enhance the core city status of Guangzhou in China, as well as promote the development of the world-class city group in the Pearl River Delta.”
The Guangzhou event will be the third World Routes to be held in China. Chengdu will host World Routes 2016 in September and Beijing hosted World Routes 2009.