World Routes 2017

The 23rd World Route Development Forum

Barcelona, Catalonia
23 – 26 September 2017

Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve compiled the answers to a list of frequently asked questions for people who are unfamiliar with route development and World Routes events.

What is route development?

The launch of a new air route is a significant investment that must be backed by a strong business case. The route development profession reduces the risk by carrying out research into the viability of potential services and the likely demand from passengers.

Initially route development was the domain of airlines and airports, but tourism authorities have become more involved in recent years. Destinations and airports understand that they can proactively gain new routes if they work together to present compelling business cases to airlines.

Airlines require robust information when considering new services and traffic data is an essential part of any route proposal. For example, network planners will look at the indirect traffic between two destinations because a high figure is a good indicator that a direct route will meet existing demand.

Alternatively, new services can stimulate markets where demand was previously low - cheap flights have helped to create popular destinations which were relatively unknown 20 years ago. Traffic forecasting can predict future passenger flows and whether they are likely to increase, decrease or plateau over time.

Traffic ‘leakage’ is also important because airports can lose passengers in their catchment areas to rivals. It is common for airports to analyse their competitors’ traffic to identify where leakage is occurring, and which new routes would help them to better serve local travellers.  

Airlines will also consider a destination’s attractions, visitor numbers, hotel and accommodation capacity, local economy, infrastructure developments and geopolitical situation when making a decision about a new service.

Why are new air services important?

 Aviation is a vital component of the global economy. A study by Oxford Economics found that aviation indirectly supports 63 million jobs and is directly responsible for 10 million jobs worldwide. The total global economic impact (direct, indirect, induced and the catalytic effects of tourism) is $2.7 trillion.

Route development is essential for airports and destinations because the economic impact of new air services is immense. They create jobs, connect businesses and boost tourism.

There is also the personal impact of aviation: affordable travel options broaden people’s leisure and cultural experiences and help them to see the world.

What is World Routes?

 The annual World Routes forum has been at the forefront of route development for over 20 years. It brings airlines, airports, tourism authorities and other relevant stakeholders together to discuss future air services, and moves to a new city every year to shine a spotlight on different aviation markets.

The events revolve around pre-scheduled meetings, an exhibition and a conference programme featuring presentations, talks and debates from industry experts.

It is a brilliant opportunity to showcase a destination’s attractions and form strong relationships with airlines.

World Routes has helped to facilitate many new services. A great example is the host city of World Routes 2013 - Las Vegas - which gained more than 120 weekly flights in the year after the event. The estimated annual economic impact of these services is $440 million in direct visitor spending.

Airports and destinations bid for World Routes events around three or four years in advance. Previous hosts have increased their route networks more quickly than their close rivals (source: York Aviation study) so it is an extremely competitive bidding process.

Why should I attend World Routes? 

Attending World Routes will give you the opportunity to meet and socialise with senior route decision makers and network planners. Once registered, you can request to meet your target airlines/airports/tourism authorities and schedule meetings in advance. There is also an on-site meeting system to help you make requests when you are at the event.

Delegates find our meeting system extremely productive, because they are able to meet many different organisations over a few days. It also creates time and cost savings by bringing together the world’s route development professionals under one roof.

Many major airlines have registered for World Routes 2017 including American Airlines, British Airways, Iberia, Delta, Etihad, Emirates, AirAsia, Japan Airlines, Norwegian and LATAM. The full attendee list can be viewed here.

You can hear from senior aviation professionals during the Conference Programme which features debates, talks and presentations about the latest issues and challenges facing the industry.

The highlights will include an interview with Willie Walsh, CEO of IAG, about the development of the long-haul, low-cost airline model by 2020.

But it’s not all work and no play - delegate tours and networking events are an integral part of World Routes. You can enjoy guided tours of the amazing city of Barcelona and evening receptions where you can get to know new colleagues better.

The pinnacle of the event will be the World Routes 2017 Marketing Awards at Palau Sant Jordi, one of the main venues for the 1992 Olympic Games. Airlines vote for the airports and tourism boards that have provided outstanding marketing service during the last year, and a new award for outstanding individuals is open to anyone in the route development community.

Don’t miss your chance to meet route development professionals from across the globe – register your place today.