The beautiful Italian town of Cagliari is one of the most ancient in the Mediterranean; in fact, at more than 3,000 years old, it is even older than Rome. In May 2011, the European route development community will descend on this idyllic town in Sardinia for three days of discussions that will shape our air networks of the future.
This year's Routes Europe will see a comprehensive list of low-cost and regional carriers looking to develop new routes in the year-round destination of Cagliari.
The event, which is in its sixth year, is set to be the largest of our regional gatherings to date with well over 110 senior airline delegates expected to attend.
The competition for air services and the economic benefits they bring has never been greater and airports are presenting their markets to airlines in ever-more innovative ways.
Furthermore, as no airline wants to unnecessarily give up a market position it has taken years to build, and because the dialogue between airlines and airports is extremely important, the focus of the discussions will vary from route expansion and performance to future planning. With more than 3,000 route development meetings taking place, Routes Europe offers airline and airport attendees an unrivalled platform through which to do business face-to-face with the key decision-makers in the industry.
From the low-cost sector, easyJet is looking for opportunities to expand from its 20 bases, while other low-cost carriers such as Wizz Air, Germanwings and Norwegian are already registered for the event and seeking new routes across Europe. Regional carrier Cirrus Airlines will be looking to the Swiss and Austrian markets, whilst bmi Regional will return its focus to opportunities in Germany and France. A new entrant to the Route Exchange, Swiss regional carrier SkyWork Airlines, is looking for new services for its growing fleet of Q400 aircraft.
"There is no doubt that Routes Europe is the most important annual gathering for the region's industry professionals," said Vincenzo Mareddu, Cagliari Airport's chairman.
"Routes Europe 2011 will represent for Cagliari and the Sardinian Region the ideal platform from which to promote our destination. Being able to bring to your own destination all key players of the aviation industry represents one of the best investments for an airport, one which will guarantee long-term economic returns.
"The benefits of hosting Routes Europe are numerous; the event is the primary European showcase for airports and is therefore vital for our visibility, as well as a reference point and a strategic route development instrument for the connectivity of our airport."
The focus of Routes Europe this year will once again be on the regional, charter and low-cost sectors, although larger airlines and airports will also be represented. For every airline and airport attending, it is also an opportunity to prepare for World Routes in October.
Fast facts about Cagliari
- Cagliari is located in the south of Sardinia, the sunniest region of Italy. The city overlooks the sea as well as lagoons, home to the region's famous pink flamingos
- In 2009, Cagliari was the number one Italian airport in terms of passenger growth and was named among the best performing European airports (Group 4) in the ACI Europe traffic report in terms of passenger growth
- Cagliari Airport has also been appointed as the official host of the ACI Europe Regional Airports Forum, which will be run alongside Routes Europe 2011.