Now in its 20th year, World Routes is where decision-makers from the world’s airlines, airports and tourism authorities gather annually to plan air services and discuss strategies for the global aviation industry. In addition to World Routes’ face-to-face meetings, which are pre-scheduled and form the core of an event taking place this year at McCormick Place, Chicago, Illinois from 20-23 September, the exhibition will also offer a programme of excellent content to attendees.

More than 300 airlines are expected to attend, with almost 200 already having confirmed that they will be present. That list includes all the major US carriers such as Virgin America, which came to World Routes for the first time last year, when the exhibition was held in Las Vegas, as well as full-service carriers such as Air China, Ethiopian Airlines, Air France, Japan Airlines, South African Airways, Etihad, British Airways and Emirates.

Low-cost carriers from across the globe will be out in force too, with AirAsia Group, Germanwings, flydubai, easyJet, Jet2, Southwest, Norwegian, Vueling and JetBlue among others signed up.

With World Routes in the US for the second year in a row, the team remains focused on driving attendance from the domestic market.

Last year, the event saw attendance from 134 North American airports, and in 2014 the numbers continue to swell with first-time attendee airports and tourism authorities from the continent.

World Routes attracts airports from across the globe; last year, 180 of the top 200 airports by passenger numbers were present. Furthermore, a total of 397 out of the top 500 attended, which equates to 79.4% of the market – a number that looks set to grow in 2014.

This year will also see more opportunities for delegates to meet at World Routes, with ‘city pair meetings’ – which enable two airports to identify new opportunities, share ideas and exchange data – growing in popularity.

Based on trends from this year’s regional events, double the amount of airport-to-airport meetings are anticipated to take place in Chicago, which will see a dedicated city pair zone demarcated within the networking village.

Building on the success of the addition of 20-minute meetings for exhibitors with ‘chalets’ and hosted networking stands during the Sunday afternoon at last year’s World Routes, there will once again be more pre-scheduled opportunities for professionals to meet, as, this year, the whole of Sunday has been set aside as a business day.

This year’s conference programme will once again include the World Routes Strategy Summit, held in partnership with ICAO and the World Bank. It brings together senior leaders and key stakeholders from aviation, tourism and cargo under one roof to participate in discussions that will set the commercial and political agenda for the industry. The programme attracts the very highest level of senior decision-makers from around the world, including airline and airport CEOs, ministers of tourism and transport, and leaders from industry associations.

The Las Vegas event also promises to deliver a programme of around 30 Route Exchange Airline Briefings. Exclusively open to attending airport and tourism authority delegates, and delivered by senior network planners, these briefings provide delegates with an opportunity to gain an insight into their target as well as current airline partners’ business.

Held in private theatres on the show floor, Route Exchange Airline Briefings are the only place to further develop an understanding of the route-planning function of airlines, hear valuable updates on the opportunities the airline feels are out there, and gain an understanding of how decision-makers at airlines see the market place. Airlines already confirmed to deliver a briefing include Finnair, AirAsia, Iberia, Condor, easyJet, Virgin Atlantic and Interjet.

Alongside a fantastic calendar of meetings, speakers and networking opportunities, organisers of the event have some exciting plans to mark the event anniversary, while there’s also the opportunity to find out how Chicago manages its own massive network infrastructure, as well as experience everything the Windy City has to offer.

To register for the 20th World Route Development Forum, please visit

Speakers at the Strategy Summit

Confirmed speakers at the Strategy Summit so far include: Sir Tim Clark, CEO, Emirates; Jim Compton, vice-chairman and chief revenue officer, United Airlines; Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO, Ethiopian Airlines; Angela Gittens, director-general, ACI World; Rosemarie Andolino, commissioner, City of Chicago Department of Aviation; Antonio Miguel Marques, CEO, São Paulo Guarulhos; Dr Sani Sener, CEO and executive board member, TAV Airports Holding; Frank Raineri, founder, Grupo Punta Cana; Elisa Sainz Ruiz, deputy director-general, strategy and tourist services, Turespaña; Aluizio Margarido, commercial director, São Paulo Viracopos International Airport; and James Berresford, CEO, Visit England.