We visited Routes Europe 2019 in Hannover


The 14th annual Routes Europe forum allowed European airports to meet with key airline decision-makers from across the world, to develop existing relationships and forge new connections with some of the most influential aviation professionals in the world, while discovering the wider area’s beauty, business potential and tourism offerings. With more than 1.200 delegates, 100 airlines, 300 airports and 50 tourism authorities engaging in over 5.000 face-to-face meetings over the course of three days, Routes Europe 2019 has been an amazing event!

Hannover Airport hopes to use the event as an opportunity to convince airlines of the airport’s advantages and show them how the airport offers the ideal conditions for creating and conducting reliable and economical flight operations.

We did an interview with Natasha Haggart, marketing director of Routes.

Avioradar: When did it all start? What is the history and the future?

Natasha Haggart: Routes was created 25 years ago. It started as a small event in a hotel in Cannes, France, and it was a way for airlines to speak with airports representatives about routes development, how to be more proactive and attract airlines to new airports. 15 years ago we created Routes Europe for different regions worldwide. Every year this events are hosted by other destination. Each event consists of face-to-face meetings between airlines and airports. Airports delegates move around the event accordring to a schedule, and airlines are hosting them in their meeting areas inside the 2 meeting halls. World Routes are about three times as big. The next World Routes event will be held in September in Adelaide, Australia. Last year it was held in Guangzhou, China. We choose a different location every year. Our events are huge oportunity for airports to show themselves to the whole aviation industry. There are different conferences being held at each event, where the industry leaders can engage in disussions, presentations and exchange their opinions. 

We have also asked about the chance to host Routes in Croatia. It all depends on airports and National Tourism Board, and their readiness to meet the requirements. Routes would really like to organize one of the followings events in Croatia, and they would be  happy to start conversations with Croatian parties responsible for hosting an event like this. It would bring significant economic benefits to Croatian economy, including new jobs and new routes to the whole region.

Avioradar: How many people are employed by Routes?

Natasha Haggart: We have around 50 people based in Manchester office in the UK. Those people are working on organizing the events. We have 6 events per year, in different locations in the world.

Budapest Airport has been named the overall winner after winning the 4-20 million passengers category.The airport’s passenger traffic has increased by double digits over the last four years with 2018 recording a rise of 13.5 percent. A total of 18 new routes, including 12 new destinations, were launched between April 2018 and April 2019. Billund Airport, who took home the award for an airport under 4 million passengers were congratulated for a ninth consecutive year of growth in 2018, passing the 3.5 million passenger mark for the first time in its history. The award for an airport with over 20 million passengers was won by Athens International Airport. More than 24.1 million passengers used Athens International in 2018, a rise of 11 percent compared with the previous 12 months. The destination marketing award was won by Vienna Tourist Board. Vienna exceeded 16.5 million overnight stays for the first time ever in 2018, a rise of 6.3 percent compared with 2017, while total arrivals grew by 6.2 percent to 7.5 million. Air service development forms part of Vienna Tourist Board’s Tourism Strategy 2020, which outlines an objective of securing 20 new international flight connections and that target has already been met, two years ahead of schedule.

The nominated finalists from Croatia were Zagreb Airport in the category of airports under 4 milion passangers and Croatian National Tourist Board in the category of the best Destination.

As Routes Europe 2019 comes to an end, this year’s hosts in Hannover passed the baton to Avinor, which will host the event in Bergen, Norway in 2020. Routes Europe, the route development forum for Europe, is held in a different location each year and bringing together airlines, airports and tourism authorities. Routes Europe 2020 will be hosted by Avinor, which own and operate 43 airports across Norway. The 15th route development forum for Europe will take place 27 – 29 April 2020.

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Photo © Avioradar (Hannover/Apr.2019)