In May of this year the eighth Routes Europe, the region’s annual route development forum, will take place in Budapest, Hungary, hosted by Budapest Airport and its partners.

Situated in the very centre of the continent, Hungary is one of the most easily accessible destinations in the region, ideally located within two hours’ flying time of almost all major European destinations. Budapest Airport has a catchment area of 13 million people within a three-hour drive and is easy to get to from neighbouring countries such as Austria, Slovakia, Ukraine, Serbia, Romania and Croatia.

Routes Europe is the largest of the regional route development events organised by Routes and has enjoyed year-on-year growth; a total of 900 delegates, including 100 airlines, from across Europe and beyond are expected to attend in May. This annual forum is the only network planning event where airlines, airports and tourism authorities meet to discuss route development for the entire European region. With more than 3,000 route development meetings taking place over three days, the event offers an unrivalled platform for airlines and airports to do business face to face with the key industry decision-makers.

Air service development is fundamental to the economic growth of cities and regions around the world, as well as the growth of the airports that serve them; the conversations that take place at Routes Europe shape the future of aviation for the entire continent.

"A total of 900 delegates, including 100 airlines, from across Europe and beyond are expected to attend in May."

Along with the face-to-face meetings, which are at the core of the event, Routes Europe 2013 will feature a strong exhibition element. The event will kick off with the Routes Europe Strategy Summit, which will bring together under one roof key thought leaders and decision-makers from across the aviation sector. The forum, which is open to all Routes Europe delegates, promises to be a thought-provoking opening to the event. Comprising a number of moderator-led panel discussions, it will address the hottest topics facing the industry.

Route Exchange Airline Briefings

Route Exchange Airline Briefings will, once again, be a key feature of the event. These live airline briefings from key carriers and senior personnel will outline opportunities for airline growth, provide those key stakeholders with an opportunity to discuss their requirements with their target airport market, and invite airports to bid for new services. In 2012, Route Exchange Airline Briefings were delivered by, among others, easyJet, Volotea, Monarch Airlines and Ryanair.

Speaking at the 2012 Routes Europe event, Mr Kam Jandu, aviation director, Budapest Airport, commented: "Budapest Airport is delighted to be hosting Routes Europe 2013. Alongside our partner, the Hungarian National Tourism Office, we look forward to welcoming all delegates to the wonderful capital city of Hungary on the banks of the famous River Danube.

"We are confident that Budapest will continue in the tradition of hosting more delegates than the previous year and we trust that the handover lunch provided a small flavour of what to expect from our great city and the best airport in the Central/Eastern Europe region."

"Routes Europe is the largest of our regional events and the platform for the real decision-makers from Europe’s network planning community," says Nigel Mayes, vice-president and commercial for Routes. "We have enjoyed significant growth over the last year, welcoming a record number of delegates in 2012.

"We expect our numbers to grow even further when we take the event to Budapest later this year, as we feel that the excellent air accessibility throughout and beyond Europe together with the city’s infrastructure and first-class event facilities make it the perfect choice moving forward. There really is no better place for airlines wishing to expand their service within the region to reach their target market."