MANCHESTER – In less than three weeks, Routes will hold the only network planning event for all the Americas in Cancun, Mexico. Routes Americas is the only airline/airport networking event that recognizes the vital interdependence of the North, South, and Central America markets. It is, in effect, a ‘one stop shop’ for air services to, from, and within the Americas. Taking place from February 15-17 at the Hilton Golf & Spa Resort, this forum will be hosted by ASUR, Mexico’s leading airports.
Introduced in 2008, Routes Americas has already established itself as the premier network planning event in the region. “In these difficult times the air links between North, South, and Central America are where some of the greatest threats and opportunities lie,” said Mike Howarth, chairman and founder of Routes. “That’s why dialogue between airlines and airports has never been more significant. Not only route expansion, but also route efficiency will dominate many of the discussions at the event, as no airline wants to unnecessarily give up a market position it has taken years to build.”
Despite the tough business environment, which has seen many regions including North America suffer a decline in passenger traffic, the Latin American market continues to experience positive rates of growth. Figures from IATA indicate an increase of 11.2 percent in international Revenue Passenger Kilometers (RPK’s) between January and November 2008. The long-term forecast for the region is equally positive with Boeing predicting that passenger traffic in Latin America will grow at an annual rate of 6.7 percent, the highest level of traffic growth outside Asia Pacific.
Highlighting the vital interdependence of the different markets, this year’s Routes Americas will see the USA represented by airlines such as United, Delta, US Airways, and Continental. Latin American carriers will attend in force, including LAN Chile, LAN Ecuador, LAN Peru, TAM, and COPA Airlines and airlines from Canada include Air Canada and Air Transat.
Registered airports include Dallas Fort Worth, Quebec, and British Virgin Islands to name but a few. Increasingly, the attending airports are reaching back to their tourism authorities, economic development agencies, and similar organizations, as broad local support is often an influential factor in developing and sustaining air services. That is why a number of tourism
authorities are taking stands this year. In attendance: Curacao, Panama, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and El Salvador.
In addition to the pre-arranged meetings, there will be a conference on ‘Route Development in Tough Times – Strategies for Survival,’ incorporating the Americas chapter of the International Air Route Development Association (IARDA). Speakers include Rodolfo Salgado Leyva, director general/CEO of Aerodom; Estuardo Robles, development director, Ciudad Aeropuerto Guatemala; and Alex de Gunten, executive director of The Latin American Air Transport Association (ALTA). The forum will also be supported by the second annual
Tourism & Air Services Summit, which will address pressing issues such as ‘The Caribbean Crossroads’ and ‘Marketing the Americas.’
New this year: The Airport Marketing Awards, previously held solely at the World event, will now be operating regional heats at all Routes events, with Routes Americas being the first to host this sought-after awards ceremony. Voting has just opened and is carried out by airlines on Routes’ official website at www.routesonline.com . Shortlisted airports will have to submit their case study for consideration by the judges, and the winners of the region will be announced at the gala dinner in Cancun. The overall winner will then be automatically shortlisted for the awards held at World Routes in Beijing in September this year.
To find out more or to secure your place at this strategically important event, visit www.routesonline.com .