Routes is hoping to attract some 275 airlines and 500 airports to its 11th World Route Development Forum this September

For the first event of its second decade of existence, Routes is travelling to Denmark. During its first decade the event has established itself as a firm diary fixture for airline network planners and airport route developers alike. The organisers are hoping once again to attract record numbers from both groups to the event, which is taking place at the Bella Centre in Copenhagen from 25-27 September.

Routes, with Airline Business as official publication, is being hosted by Copenhagen airport. The airport won the bid to host Routes against strong competition from two other contenders and secured the deal in close partnership with Copenhagen's tourism authorities. By hosting the event, Copenhagen is aiming to increase its profile as Scandinavia's main hub. It is also an airport that serves two countries, with many travellers using the nearby Øresund Bridge, which provides a convenient link between Denmark and Sweden.

The Routes organisers are hoping that the 2005 forum will be the biggest yet with 1,500 delegates expected. This would be yet another record attendance, climbing once again after around 1,200 delegates came to last year's event in Madrid.

Although the main aim of Routes is to bring airlines and airports together to discuss new route opportunities, a series of complementary events and features have been developed to enable delegates to get even more value out of their time spent in Copenhagen.

* The Networking Village, which made its debut in Madrid, returns with a Copenhagen theme. This central area gives delegates an informal setting to meet in addition to the pre-arranged airline-airport meetings. Many of the social events will take place in the Networking Village and it will be the location for the exhibition. One region that will be represented in strength at the event is eastern Europe and the Baltics, following the accession of states like Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to the European Union last year. Airports from this emerging market will have their own area of the exhibition zone.

* A major feature of the Networking Village will be a full-scale internet café run by Airline Business and its sister online news and data service Air Transport Intelligence (ATI). This will be free of charge for delegates, enabling access to the latest news and information. To further assist airports with their preparations, ATI and Routes have teamed up to offer airline profiles in advance of the event. Once airports register, ATI will send selected airline profiles featuring backgrounds on various carriers, fleet composition and network details.

* The return of IATA's network training workshops in 2005 adds to the theme of being prepared in advance to get the most from meetings.

* Routes 2005 will also see the return of several events designed to offer market information to various groups. The York Aviation consultancy will run its half-day economic development conferences targeted at airports and tourism agencies. There will also be briefings on emerging markets and a conference on Sunday 25 September on airline fleet management.

* The European Low-Fare Airline Association will hold its second annual general meeting during Routes. The association held its first AGM during Routes 2004, bringing a group of senior low-fare carrier executives to the event.

* After its successful launch in Madrid, the New Airline Hall hosted by OAG will offer pre-arranged meetings between start-up airlines and industry suppliers. OAG is also sponsoring the Routes Airline Marketing Awards that are presented during the gala dinner on Monday 26 September.

The organisers are hoping to have a bigger than ever presence from the Asia-Pacific in Copenhagen after sealing a partnership with the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA). "The development of the Asia-Pacific aviation sector is pivotal to the under­lying growth of tourism to, from and within the PATA region," says the organisation's vice-president Peter Semone.

"It is very positive to see the Asia market participation grow," says Bob Hill, manager route planning at American Airlines. "American will begin Chicago-Nagoya nonstop service this year – in great part a result of our meetings at Routes with representatives from the CJIA – Central Japan International airport."

With the pre-arranged meetings and all the associated events, Routes 2005 promises to be a hectic and productive three days.

Source: Airline Business