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China hosts World Routes in confident mood

The international airline industry's 15th World Route Development Forum (World Routes), which has concluded in Beijing, was the largest in the event's history, with record numbers of delegates attending.

Hosted by Capital Airports Holding Company, conference welcomed more than 2,500 delegates, from over 200 airlines and 1,000 airports. The local airline industry is in a confident mood. After passing through a difficult period, there were clear signals from both Chinese airlines and the government that regional carriers are ready to expand again. More than 75 tourism authorities were represented. Mike Howarth, chairman of Routes said: "Tourism authorities are becoming more involved in the route development process, increasingly providing finance support for key services which will underpin important tourism revenues. In short: they are now moving up the supply chain and following the same path as airports a decade ago."

This year's World Routes included a "Route Exchange Chalet" which was launched where carriers were able to hold meetings. A "City Pair Zone" was also introduced where airports could meet with each other to share market information and join forces to approach airlines.

"Over the past two years, which were the most difficult years in the industry's history, the airline-airport relationship has become highly critical. It is a partnership that is instrumental in helping the industry through the current recession, and therefore it is imperative for the two parties to meet. World Routes has proven to be the place to do so. What we have seen in the past few days in Beijing is a very confident mood amongst delegates; the air transport industry has started to show signs of an upturn, and industry players expect it to recover in 2010," said Howarth.

Canada Vancouver to host 2010 World Routes

The Vancouver Airport Authority will host the 16th World Route Development Forum (World Routes) from September 19-21 in 2010, marking the first time this global event will be held in North America. A press conference and official handover ceremony took place Tuesday at this year’s World Routes. Vancouver will also host 2010 Winter Olympics.

Abu Dhabi announced as World Routes 2012 Host. Abu Dhabi will host the 18th World Routes, to be held in September 2012. The decision was formerly announced in Beijing and the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority and national carrier Etihad are expected to make a formal announcement in the coming weeks.

(China.org.cn September 17, 2009)