Nearly 650 of Europe’s key decision makers involved in route development joined forces in Prague, Czech Republic earlier this week to explore business opportunities and meet with fellow industry professionals at the 4th Routes Europe, the region’s largest networking event for the air transport industry. Hosted by Prague Airport, the event was the biggest and most successful of Routes’ regional events to date. It was supported by key industry associations such as ACI Europe, ERA and ELFAA.
Rising industry confidence was in the air over the three days of the forum, as delegates agreed that it is time for being upbeat. Whilst times are still difficult now, most airports are positive that a better period is to come soon. They are determined to pursue their long-term objectives, react to changing market conditions and work harder for their routes.
“Having talked to various delegates in Prague, the tendency seems to be that airports are simply making greater efforts to generate business rather than scaling back on their long-term development plans,” commented Mike Howarth, Chairman of Routes. “They are fighting for new airlines and even more so for the carriers they already work with.”
Not only the airports, but also the carriers see the need to reconsider their strategic efforts. “Airlines have to accommodate their overcapacities, and interestingly enough they now start thinking about niche routes that they would never have thought about a year ago or two,” said Daniel Burkard, Director Business Development and International Affairs, Moscow International Airport Domodedovo.
He added: “Established network carriers are now approaching secondary or third-tier airports. Generally I feel that this year Routes Europe was more work than usual, simply because everybody is fighting hard for business. Both sides seem to know their numbers better than in the past, which will certainly help them prepare for the next upturn.”
Over 70 airlines were represented, including Ryanair, Clickair & Vueling, SkyEurope Airlines and CSA-Czech Airlines. Airports taking part included Brussels Airport, Budapest Airport, Copenhagen Airport and Munich Airport. Many of the conducted meetings are expected to result in new air services.