TOULOUSE, France – At the end of this year’s Routes Europe, the mood among the 700 delegates in attendance was positive. More than 3,000 route development meetings took place – more than at any other Routes Europe event.
The event, held from May 9-11 in Toulouse, France, was a resounding success, thanks largely to the organization, attention to detail, and efforts invested by the host, Toulouse-Blagnac Airport. It was attended by representatives from across the region and those with an interest in the region, including American Airlines, British Airways, Qatar Airways, and Etihad Airways.
Wolfgang Schein, head of market research & strategic network planning, Austrian Airlines, made use of the networking opportunities on offer to gather information to help restructure the airline’s network.
He commented: “Particularly as our airline is in the process of repositioning its route network, it was a natural move for us to be at Routes Europe again this year. As well as being well established on our long-haul and Middle East destinations, Austrian Airlines is currently very strong in Eastern Europe. Combined with our new strategy to gain back our competitiveness by offering highly-competitive prices, backed by a tight steering, we are currently in a phase of redesigning our network.
“For Austrian this is possible due to a significant reduction of our production costs from the recent restructuring processes and the phasing out of all aircraft with high costs per seat, as well as, on the other side, adding additional cost-efficient and bigger aircraft. We are now looking to develop a stronger presence in Western Europe. By being at Routes Europe, we had the perfect opportunity to meet airports from all across the region, allowing us to target the ones from Western Europe specifically.
“Routes Europe always provides a great place to meet several airports that are of interest within a short period of time – and this year certainly didn’t disappoint.”
For the first time Routes Europe was host to the recently-introduced “Route Exchange – Airline Requirement Briefings” – a feature which allows airlines to present their forthcoming plans and airport requirements to a number of airports at one time. The attending airports gained a lot of insight from these presentations, and each one was followed by a lively debate.
Torsten Deller, manager, network planning, Lufthansa Italia, one of the three carriers leveraging this new offering from Routes, explained:
“The airline briefing was really good. I am glad that Routes gave us the opportunity to present Lufthansa Italia, which is not well known in the European market. We were given the opportunity to show to European airports that there is a difference between Lufthansa (German Airlines) and Lufthansa Italia!”
Nigel Mayes, managing director at Routes, commented: “This year’s event had a really impressive attendance, despite the ash cloud threatening to keep many away. The number and caliber of the delegates is testament to the role Routes events play in the network development process.
“The host and its supporting partners really pulled out all the stops. The gala dinner was an amazing triumph and something that they should be congratulated on. The Airbus A380 and the ATR tour also provided a highlight for many delegates.”
To view video interviews and pictures from the event, please visit www.routesonline.com .
World Routes – The World Route Development Forum – is the world-renowned annual airline and airport networking event. Routes facilitates and encourages the role of airports in the development of air services through organizing global and region specific airline/airport networking forums.
This year’s World Route Development Forum will take place in Vancouver, Canada, September 19-21.
Routes Regional events include Routes Americas, Routes Asia, Routes Europe, Routes Africa, and Routes CIS.
Routes was founded in 1995 by chairman Mike Howarth as part of the Manchester UK-based ASM Ltd., a consultancy specializing in the field of route development for airports. www.asm-global.com .
Both companies are now subsidiaries of RDG –The Route Development Group – which is the leading global solutions provider in the strategically important “route development” sector of air transport. www.routedevgroup.com
In April 2007, Routes also won the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise: International Trade 2007. The award, for outstanding business performance and commercial success, recognized Routes’ sustained contribution to aviation route development through its innovative Regional and World Route Development Forums.