MANCHESTER – Up to 300 route-development planners and decision makers gathered in Cancun, Mexico for the only network-planning event for all the Americas – the 2nd Routes Americas (February 15-17), hosted by ASUR, Mexico’s leading airports. Over the three days of the event, they discussed air service expansion and performance in an effort to pair up strategies for a way out of the current economic crisis. The general consensus amongst the attendees: route maintenance is a top priority.
“To host Routes Americas for two consecutive years has been an unrivaled opportunity to reinforce our relationships with our customers, showcase the potential of Cancun, and position it as a premier destination,” said Alejandro Vales Lehne, customer and route development director at ASUR. “We are convinced that the forum has provided an excellent platform to foster the development of new services.”
As many as 50 carriers were in attendance, from Southwest Airlines, JetBlue Airways, and US Airways to Delta Airlines and American Airlines. The official carrier was Mexicana. More than 140 airports were represented including Akron-Canton Airport, Infraero-Brazilian Airports, Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, Quebec City Jean Lesage International Airport, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, and Toluca International Airport. The event was also supported by up to 30 tourism authorities including the Panama Tourism Bureau, Mexico’s Ministry of Tourism, and the St. Lucia Tourist Board, to name but a few.
David Stroud, COO of RDG, on the success of the forum, said, “We are delighted that the event has established itself so fast. In just two years, it has become the premier network-planning event in the region, and the outcome of our 2nd Routes Americas has once again proven that it is crucial to link the different markets of the region, especially in these tough times.”
In addition to the one-to-one meetings, delegates enjoyed a conference on ‘Route Development in Tough Times – Strategies for Survival.’ Also collocated was the 2nd Tourism and Air Services Summit (TAS). Speakers explored the developing markets in the Americas, focusing in particular on Guatemala and Colombia against the backdrop of the current global economic crisis. The mood was surprisingly upbeat with industry experts looking forward to and planning for the next upturn. Brand Canada was presented in a co-ordinated session involving the stakeholders, creating a new and very successful partnership to market a nation with speakers from the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) and the recently-formed National Airlines Council of Canada (NACC).
Various delegates confirmed the success of the forum and the significance of this platform, which links all the markets in the region. John Gibson, vice president, marketing from John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport said: “I came here to get feedback from airlines and to assess the current market situation. The event has once again been very valuable, as I managed to meet with more than 16 carriers. From a networking point of view, Routes Americas allows us to meet carriers from all over the Americas. Because of the strategic location, we get to meet with Latin-American carriers that we, as a Canadian airport, would usually not get a chance to speak to.”
Lee Lipton, director of network strategic planning from Southwest Airlines added: “One of our main objectives at the moment is to gain market intelligence and put an infrastructure in place. We are here at Routes Americas to lay the groundwork for future relationships. The event meets our needs very well, as it gives us the opportunity to build a knowledge base and meet other industry professionals face to face.”
BEST AIRPORTS CROWNED AT THE FIRST REGIONAL HEAT OF THE ROUTES-OAG AIRPORT MARKETING AWARDS
Routes and OAG (Official Airline Guide) on Monday celebrated the first regional heat of their acclaimed Routes-OAG Airport Marketing Awards and announced the winners for the Americas region. The trophies were presented at the prestigious gala dinner of the 2nd Routes Americas, where 200 delegates enjoyed the celebrations at the beautiful Broadwalk Plaza Flamingo by the lagoon in Cancun, Mexico.
Winners were chosen from three categories: North America, South America, and the Caribbean. While Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport picked up an award for best airport in North America, Quito International Airport scooped in the South America category. Las Américas International Airport, Santo Domingo (Aerodom) was crowned best of its kind in the Caribbean.
The overall winner for the entire Americas region is Dallas/Fort Worth. The airport will now automatically be shortlisted in the relevant category for the World Awards, to be held at World Routes in Beijing from September 13-15, 2009. There, they will compete against winners from the other regional Routes events: Routes Asia (Hyderabad, March 29-31), Routes Europe (Prague, May 17-19) and Routes Africa (Marrakech, June 7-9).
Voting for the Routes-OAG Americas Awards started in mid-January and was open until February. During this period, airlines nominated their preferred airports on Routes’ official website at www.routesonline.com using criteria such as the airport’s market research activities and marketing communications activities. The shortlisted airports then had to submit a case study to support their nominations to a panel of industry experts who chose the winners.
The Airport Marketing Awards were previously held solely at the World event. The regional heats were introduced to give all airports within each region the chance to be considered and win an award purely based on their marketing activities. Roll call of winners:
Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport
Cancun International Airport, John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport
Quito International Airport
Highly Commended: Jorge Chávez International Airport, Lima
Las Américas International Airport, Santo Domingo (Aerodom)
Highly Commended: Curacao International Airport, Nassau Airport
Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport
LIMA AS 2010 HOST FOR THE ONLY NETWORK
The Route Development Group (RDG) has announced that the 3rd Routes Americas is to be held in Lima, Peru. Taking place on February 14-16, 2010, this only network-planning event for all the Americas will be hosted by Lima Airport Partners (LAP). “Having the honor of hosting Routes Americas in 2010 gives us the opportunity to demonstrate not only what Peru can offer as a destination and the advantages that Lima has as a South American hub, but also our commitment towards route development in our region,” commented Jaime Daly, LAP’s CEO. “Routes Americas 2010 will prove that doing business in this region is good business, despite the crisis, and will give us airports the chance to attract airlines that have traditionally looked towards the east.”
Created to operate, maintain, develop, and expand the infrastructure of the Jorge Chávez International Airport in Lima, LAP was awarded a 30-year concession that began in February 2001. In only eight years, Lima Airport has been transformed, becoming not only a world-class airport, but also one of the fastest-growing operations in the region. The number of passengers grew from 4 million in 2001 to 8.3 million in 2008.
Following on from the phenomenal success of this year’s event in Cancun, the 2010 forum promises to be even bigger and better. The strategic location of the Jorge Chávez International Airport at the center of South America makes it an important point of interconnection for passengers from all over the world and, therefore, a great location for the premier airport/airline networking event in the region. “The airport’s location coupled with LAP’s growing route network, which serves North America and offers connections across South America, makes Lima the ideal location for Routes Americas – the only network-planning event that recognizes the vital interdependence of the north, south, and central America markets,” commented David Stroud, COO of RDG.
The announcement comes at the end of the 2nd Routes Americas in Cancun. To find out more or to secure your place at next year’s strategically important event, visit www.routesonline.com.