Routes Asia will be heading back to Malaysia in 2014, with leading industry figures descending on Kuching, the capital of the Malaysian state of Sarawak, for the event in March. Here, Asia’s route development community will meet and do business to shape Asia’s future air networks.

Routes Asia, now in its 12th year, is one of five annual regional route development events organised by Routes. The 2014 event will be co-hosted by the Ministry of Tourism Sarawak and Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB). Malaysia Airports is an experienced Routes host, having held the first three Routes Asia events as well as World Routes in 2008.

This annual event provides a unique forum for airlines, airports and tourism authorities to hold a series of prescheduled face-to-face meetings that will shape the region’s air-service development for the future. More than 800 key decision-makers from across the region and beyond are expected to attend the event. Delegates responsible for making decisions on new and existing routes from a wide variety of airlines, such as Malaysia Airlines, Air India, AirAsia Group, Japan Airlines, Firefly, Qatar Airways, Hong Kong Airlines and Etihad, have all already confirmed their attendance at the event.

"This annual event provides a unique forum for airlines, airports and tourism authorities to hold a series of prescheduled face-to-face meetings."

Along with the meetings, which are the core of the event, Routes Asia 2014 will also see a series of route exchange airline briefings given by senior airline executives, along with a strong exhibition element. The event will open with the Routes Asia Strategy Summit, which will bring together an impressive line-up of senior industry executives, including Azran Osman-Rani, CEO of AirAsia X, who will give the keynote address. The specially developed content and interactive format ensures that the summit, open to all Routes Asia delegates, is a popular element of the event that promises valuable insights into aviation across the region.

Kuching is an excellent location for the event, as air transport to Sarawak is served by four major airports: Kuching International Airport, Sibu, Bintulu and Miri Airports, and as the region has frequent air links from major aviation hubs, Kuching is one of the most accessible cities in Malaysia. Flights to Kuching are available from Kuala Lumpur International Airport, which is served by more than 50 carriers.

A state of mind

Sarawak, known as the Land of the Hornbills, is the largest of the Malaysian states and is situated on the island of Borneo. Home to the world’s oldest tropical rainforests, it is abundant in wildlife, including rare and endangered species such as the orangutan and the hornbill. The historic capital city of Kuching has a population of around 600,000 and dates back hundreds of years to when traders from China and the West would travel there to trade the exotic treasures of the rainforest. Today, Kuching remains the central hub of and gateway to Sarawak.

Speaking at the 2013 Routes Asia event, Datuk Amar Haji Abdul Rahman Zohari bin Tun Abang Haji Openg, minister for tourism for Sarawak said: "We are indeed grateful to Routes for giving us the opportunity to be associated with such a prestigious event. It is a great honour for Sarawak to be highlighted among the prominent airlines and airports fraternity at this important event."

Mohamed Sallauddin Mat Sah, general marketing manager for MAHB, added: "After pioneering the Routes Asia forum in 2003, Malaysia Airports is proud to see this event grow in number by leaps and bounds. And now, partnering with Sarawak’s Ministry of Tourism in co-hosting this event next year in Kuching is very special for Malaysia Airports, as it highlights the synergies and symbiotic relationship between an airport and tourism authority to enhance air connectivity.

"This initiative also underlines our commitment to develop key regional international airports in Malaysia. We await the arrival of the delegates of Routes Asia 2014 so they can be mesmerised by what Kuching and Sarawak can offer."

Find out more about Routes Asia 2014 at