Routes Europe 2018

The route development forum for Europe

Bilbao, Basque Country
22 – 24 April 2018

Frequently Asked Questions

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

Routes Europe is the largest air service development forum for the European region. It brings airlines, airports, tourism authorities and other relevant stakeholders together to discuss future European air services, moving to a new city every year to shine a spotlight on different aviation markets.

The event revolves 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.

Airports and destinations bid for Routes Europe events around three 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 Routes Europe?

Attending Routes Europe 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.

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.

But it’s not all work and no play - delegate tours and networking events are an integral part of Routes events. You can expect tours of Bilbao and the Basque Country’s attractions and evening receptions at interesting locations where you can get to know people better.

The pinnacle of the event will be the Routes Europe 2018 Marketing Awards. Airlines vote for the airports and tourism boards that have provided outstanding marketing service during the last year, making them highly respected in the aviation industry.

Don’t miss your chance to meet route development professionals from across Europe!

Register your place today