Conference Programme

Monday, 15 July 2019

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    Opening Remarks

    The return of Routes Silk Road

    Steven Small, Brand Director, Routes

    Hear more about why Routes is taking place in Astana as well as what you can expect over the course of the event.

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    Welcome to Astana

    OAG’s data shows that Kazakhstan leads the way in terms of aviation growth in the immediate region. This isn’t surprising as it has the most diversified national economy, is home to Air Astana, and boasts the region’s most developed airport system.

    Over the past decade both the domestic and international markets from Kazakhstan have more than doubled. In 2009 4.1 million departure seats were available from the country, but this has grown by an annual average of 10 percent.

    The largest annual growth was between 2010 and 2011, although the market also expanded rapidly by 16 percent from 2016 to 2017.

    During the decade it has been the domestic market which accounts for both the lion’s share of traffic and the fastest growth, growing by 10.6 percent annually on average.

    The domestic market accounted for 60 percent of all departure seats in the country in 2009, and has grown to 63.1 percent in 2018.

    Kazakhstan’s status as the world’s largest landlocked country, and the ninth-biggest nation on the planet, means that aviation is key to the future development and prosperity of the country.

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    CEO Keynote Interview

    Air Astana

    Hear directly from Air Astana’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Peter Foster on the airline’s expansion plans over the coming years.

    Air Astana dominates the market in Kazakhstan offering more than half of the available seats domestically and 47.2 percent of the total international seats available from Kazakhstan.

    Peter Foster attributes the growth in transfer traffic to “offering a good product”, Air Astana’s growing reputation in the market, an efficient cost base that allows it to put good value fares into the market and Kazakhstan’s geographical location that makes it a logical place to fly via when travelling between Asia and Europe or northern Russia and South East Asia.

    Although fuel prices and lack of ground handling are two of the main challenges for airlines in Kazakhstan, Air Astana is self-handling and has negotiated its own deal with the Kazakh government that allows it to buy its fuel direct from refineries.

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    Market overview

    How has the market changed in recent years? What is the outlook for 2019 and beyond?

    Lack of competition in the ground handling market, the need for greater transparency over airport charges and the high price of jet fuel are three key areas where improvements can be made in the Central Asia market.

    However, despite considerable challenges in many parts of the region, Kazakhstan like all Central Asian former Soviet republics, still enjoys strong links with Russia. These economic and social ties are largely fuelling traffic growth across the entire region, with many Uzbeks, Tajiks, and Kyrgyz working in Russia and the former CIS states.

    This session will outline the latest news on the state of the industry in Central Asia including how the region could tackle their largest threats.

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    CEO Keynote Interview

    Ethiopian Airlines is the largest African carrier; last year it offered more than 16 million seats and flew almost 31 million ASMs to, from and within the continent.

    We're delighted to welcome the man at the carrier's helm for the past seven years to offer his unique insight into its future plans and network strategy.

    Tewolde is uniquely placed to discuss the potential impact of the Single African Air Transport Market, the predicted passenger growth across the continent, and the other major issues affecting aviation in Africa.

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    Panel Discussion: Connecting East to West

    The incredible growth in Asian markets and outbound travel from China are having a profound impact on how European carriers aim to service new route opportunities from East to West.

    Finnair and Helsinki Airport have been connecting the regions for 35 years while Hungarian low-cost carrier Wizz Air’s stated strategy is linking Central and Eastern Europe destinations with Western Europe, primarily from secondary airports.

    The move west forms part of Wizz’s desire to gain further market share from low-cost rivals. One of the airline’s big advantages is that Hungary has some of the lowest labour costs in the EU. Given the scale of its ambition, expect Wizz to open further Western Europe bases in the coming months as it continues to launch an assault on sectors previously dominated by Ryanair and easyJet.

    Air Astana and its partner Lufthansa are now the only airlines operating nonstop flights from Kazakhstan to Western Europe, but several Eastern European airlines compete aggressively in this market with a one-stop product.

    Aeroflot and the Gulf carriers are also in pole position to connect the two growing aviation powerhouses, while more fuel efficient equipment opens up routes previously viewed as unsustainably thin.

    Can CIS compete with Western/Middle East hubs? Can another regional Russian airport become a hub competitor?

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    Route development in China: Know the latest trends

    Hang Zhao, Business Development Manager and Consultant, ASM Global Route Development

    The growth of China’s aviation industry continues apace with the country set to displace the United States as the world’s largest market in the mid-2020s. The Chinese government has plans to build or expand 74 airports nationwide by the end of 2020 to help accommodate the surge in demand for air travel.

    This session will explore the future trends in the market and how policy evolution is changing the backdrop for new route development. It will look at the impact of Beijing’s new multibillion-dollar Daxing International Airport when it opens later this year, as well as the continued growth of secondary cities and emerging destinations.

    You will also learn how international airports should engage with China over the coming years, helping you to better understand the multitude of opportunities available.

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

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    What is CORSIA

    Our Sustainable Future Starts Here

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    Panel Discussion: Future LCCs Development

    Does this model work?

    Yolanta Strikitsa, Director, Strikitsa Consulting

    Kazakhstan’s Air Astana and Uzbekistan Airways have adopted multi-brand strategies in response to intensifying competition in the Central Asia and CIS regions. Kazakhstan’s first low-cost carrier (LLC) FlyArystan is taking delivery of its first two narrow-body Airbus A320s with a view to reaching a fleet of at least 15 aircraft by 2022. And Uzbekistan Airways plans to launch its LCC brand in 2019 using single class A320s that will be transferred from its existing full-service operations.

    There is currently only one Central Asian LCC operating, Kyrgyzstan’s Air Manas and only two more in the larger CIS region, the Aeroflot subsidiary Pobeda and Azerbaijan Airlines' budget brand Buta Airways. However, the expansion of foreign LCCs in the region and aggressive FSC competition has also pressured Air Astana and Uzbekistan Airways to establish LCCs.

    How are LCC carriers going to face competition? Is the way they operate sustainable in a long term? What is their strategy to offer low prices in a profitable way?

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    Panel Discussion: Doing business in the “Stans”

    Over the past decade, total capacity from the seven ‘Stans’ has increased by 71.5 percent.

    Although Pakistan remains by far the region’s largest market, rapid growth in countries such as Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan mean that the area is commanding more attention from the global community.

    However, the region has struggled to attract tourists and remains something of an unknown in terms of its potential for future growth.

    In this session we will explore how the market operates, how airlines and airports can do business and take advantage of untapped potential, and also identify any roadblocks to potential development.

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    Airline Briefing

    Exclusive updates direct from key airline decision makers and network planners.

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    Panel Discussion: How to cater for the Russian market?

    Tour Operators perspective

    Russia’s outbound travel sector has gone from strength-to-strength in recent years, with official figures showing annual growth of 5.8 percent in 2018 to 42 million trips. Airlines continued to open scheduled international routes, while new charter programmes are set to be launched.

     All five Central Asian nations - Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan - still enjoy strong links with Russia, and these economic and social ties are helping to fuel traffic growth across the region.

    While Kazakhstan remains one of the top destinations for Russian tourists, alongside the likes of Turkey, Finland and China, a multitude of opportunities exist for other neighbouring countries to increase their share of the market.

    So how can destinations take advantage of Russia’s expanding outbound market? What makes places an attractive proposition to visit? How do Russian tourists’ demands and travel habits differ from other nationalities?

    This panel session will explore this lucrative source market, looking at what travel agencies and tour operators want from a destination. It will assess visa requirements, language, marketing best practice and seasonality demand to help you better understand how to cater for the Russian market.

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

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    ASM Training Session

    Expert consultancy ASM will provide this exclusive Masterclass to Routes Silk Road attendees.

    Delegates will gain insight into the practical tools and techniques that will help them attract new routes and increase existing services. During the comprehensive training session, they will develop their knowledge in:

    • The most effective ways to approach and present to target airlines
    • How to improve their skills to deliver success for their airport or organisation
    • The importance of airport competitive positioning and target planning
    • How to implement a route development strategy

* Please note like all events, the programme is subject to change.