Routes Americas brings together airlines, airports and tourism authorities to develop air route networks. It moves to a new city every year to highlight the diverse aviation markets across the Americas. The 2018 event is hosted by the Municipality of Quito, Secretariat of Productive Development and Competitiveness, Quito Turismo and Corporación Quiport.
Andrew O’Brian, chief executive of Quiport, said that the event would unite the main planning executives of the most important airlines operating in the hemisphere. "This will allow us to show the quality of airport services for both passengers and airlines, as well as the infrastructure and efficiency in the operation of our airport," he added.
Leading airlines that will attend include American Airlines, International Airlines Group (IAG), Aeroméxico, Air Canada, LATAM, TAME and JetSmart. Around 70 airlines, 150 airports and 35 tourism authorities are expected in total.
Alvaro Maldonado, secretary of productive development and competitiveness from the Municipality of Quito, said: “Routes Americas, the leading air connectivity event in Latin America, places Quito in the eyes of the world.
"It opens doors to new opportunities for tourism, business and investments in a strategically located city, with the most modern airport in the region, full of alternatives and options for people with unlimited vision.”
The latest issues and challenges facing aviation in the Americas will be debated the event’s conference sessions, including how the industry across South and Central America has picked itself up following a series of devastating natural disasters in 2017.
High-profile speakers include: Juan Carlos Zuazua, Chief Executive Officer, VivaAerobus; Declan Ryan, Chief Executive Officer, Viva Air; Maribel Rodriguez, Regional Director of Southern Europe and LATAM, World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC); and Peter Cerdá, Regional Vice President, The Americas, International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Quito is a rapidly growing tourism destination. Named as one of the first UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Sites in 1978, the city has a well-preserved Spanish colonial centre and is the gateway to the Ecuadorian Amazon and the Galapagos Islands.
The travel and tourism industry in Ecuador directly supported 137,500 jobs in 2016 and its GDP contribution was more than $2bn. The World Travel & Tourism Council has estimated that the sector’s employment contribution will rise to 196,000 jobs by 2027 and its GDP could be worth $3.36bn, equivalent to 2.5 percent of overall GDP.
In December 2017, Ecuador’s president Lenín Moreno signed an executive decree for the adoption of an Open Skies policy – a move that has the potential to boost connectivity, unlock new markets, increase tourism and create new jobs.
Quito International Airport is the main gateway to Ecuador. As a result of Quiport’s efforts in acquiring new international destinations with an increased number of airlines in operation, the airport’s IATA Connectivity Index has more than doubled within the last six years (from 4.25 percent to 10.24 percent). The airport has invested more than $133m in projects to improve the infrastructure and quality of services.