World Routes heads to the US for the first time this year and the event this October in Las Vegas is set to be the largest to date, with over 3,000 delegates expected. Organisers have further developed the programme to include more opportunities for attendees to meet and do business in the form of face-to-face meetings, the unique Route Exchange Airline Briefings, a dedicated and spectacular hospitality programme developed in conjunction with event hosts, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) and McCarran International Airport, and an unrivalled programme of conferences and talks.

Airline participation

At the time of writing, over 150 airlines (more than this time last year) have already confirmed their attendance at the event and that number is set to double by October. Already confirmed are all the major American carriers – including first time attendee Virgin America – the major European low-cost carriers such as Germanwings, easyJet, Jet2, Norwegian and Vueling and Asian full-service carriers like Air China, China Airlines, Malaysia Airlines and Vietnam airlines. In addition, airlines such as Etihad and Emirates will be taking longer meetings in their private chalet and there is strong alliance participation from oneworld and SkyTeam.

With Routes moving to the US for the first time its 19-year history, World Routes 2013 will feature an increased focus on the US domestic market, with all US domestic carriers now registered to attend.

Meeting opportunities

Face-to-face meetings remain at the core of World Routes. Interline meetings are a growing requirement and are being actively facilitated by the Routes’ scheduling team. The Route Exchange Briefings continue to be a popular and many airlines have already signed up to this integral part of the programme. Airlines continue to bring ever larger teams of increasingly senior delegates in order to meet and do business.

Last year’s World Routes event in Abu Dhabi featured the addition of a third day of pre-scheduled meetings. Building on that success, this year’s event will once again provide more opportunities for air service industry professionals to take part in mutually beneficial discussions. During the afternoon of Sunday 6 October, from 1pm-5pm, chalet owners and hosted networking stand (HNS) holders will be able to take advantage of a pre-scheduled diary of 20-minute meetings that provide extra opportunities to meet with their target carriers.

Conference and talks programme

Another key development for World Routes in Las Vegas is the conference streams, which are proving extremely popular with attendees. These include the Strategy Summit and the World Tourism Summit, held in partnership with the ICAO and the World Bank, and IATA, PATA, ICTP and TTG, respectively, in addition to the Invest & Manage briefings. Teams are encouraged to bring their CEOs and key stakeholders with them to the event so that, while the marketing and business development teams are in meetings, their CEOs can attend their own dedicated programme of conference sessions.

Key speakers include Estuardo Ortiz, executive vice-president and CCO, AviancaTaca; James Hogan, CEO, Etihad Airways; Akbar al Baker, CEO, Qatar Airways; Andrew Levy, president, Allegiant; and Stephen Attenborough, commercial director Virgin Galactic. They can also listen to the outcome of the ICAO general assembly, where Dr Boubacar Djibo, the organisation’s director of the Air Transport Bureau, will give his first address following the general assembly and where we expect an update on carbon trading and the EU emissions trading system (ETS).

The inaugural World Tourism Summit will include keynote addresses from Brand USA and Facebook as well as panel participation from the likes of Roger Dow, the President and CEO of the US Travel Association, and the President and CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council, David Scowsill. The summit will address a number of current industry issues including how regional and national governments can align their tourism, economic development and aviation strategies; securing investment funds for tourism development; the changing dynamics of visitor economies, and the links between aviation and cruising.

As a result of feedback from last year’s event in Abu Dhabi, these elements are now integrated into the main event programme and attendees can actually select which conferences and talks sessions they wish to go to and request them via the Routesonline scheduling system, just as they would do for their meeting requests.

Tourism authorities increased presence

World Routes continues to attract a growing number of tourism authorities, with over 250 expected to be in attendance in Las Vegas. These authorities provide airports with vital stakeholder support as well as key data and analysis, which airlines increasingly require when evaluating new route opportunities.

"The Routes events allow Tourism Australia and its airport and state tourism partners to strengthen ties between Australia and the world, ultimately facilitating additional aviation capacity between the two countries," says Craig Davidson, general manager, destination development at Tourism Australia.

A large number of ministers for tourism are expected at this year’s event and Routes has developed a dedicated programme for them encompassing the inaugural World Tourism Summit and a ministerial dinner.

Hospitality programme

This year, the extended event programme will run from Saturday to Wednesday, with countless opportunities for delegates to meet and network at the social events surrounding the core business elements of World Routes. The programme will begin on Saturday with an extensive tour programme including cycling excursions, helicopter rides over the Grand Canyon, museums trips and motorsports.

Following this, the welcome reception, hosted by LVCVA and McCarran International Airport, will take place at the Mandalay Bay. The opening reception will take place on Sunday evening, while the famous Cesar’s Palace hotel and casino is the venue for Monday’s networking evening incorporating the World Routes Awards.

The 19th World Route Development Forum takes place from 5-8 October 2013. To register please visit