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Excitement builds as city prepares to take on major aviation conference


Europe's largest aviation trade event, Routes Europe, will be officially handed over to Aberdeen city and shire next week.

Lord Provost of Aberdeen George Adam, Aberdeenshire Provost Jill Webster and Aberdeen International Airport managing director Carol Benzie will accept the event, designed to attract air route development professionals in Europe to meet with regional airports to consider new air routes, on behalf of Aberdeen City and Shire, and Scotland, at Routes Europe 2014 in Marseilles on Tuesday [08 April].

Aberdeen will host the 2015 Europe event, with the main conference sessions being held at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre. It will provide a unique opportunity to promote the city, region and country to an international audience and strengthen existing social and economic bonds, while asserting and building on Aberdeen's status as a global energy hub.

The Aberdeen event will be the first Routes Europe conference to be held in the UK. The European trade-to-trade event is the largest regional Routes event and an essential gathering for all aviation based companies seeking to conduct business to, from and within the European region. It brings together a wide range of airlines, airports and tourism authorities, including budget, flagship and national carriers from the whole region, providing opportunities to meet with some of the most influential aviation professionals from across the world.

The Lord Provost said: "There is a real feeling of excitement building about Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire hosting Routes Europe next year. Aberdeen International Airport is growing at a fantastic rate, with two new air services taking off in the last week alone. Aberdeen is playing in a league of much bigger cities than previously, competing with the likes of Marseille and Berlin.

"When we won the bid to host Routes Europe 2015, we said it was a huge vote of confidence in the economy of Aberdeen and its future. The support and excitement the news has attracted within the city region, Scotland and the UK is a clear demonstration of that confidence."

"Routes Europe provides a fantastic opportunity to market Aberdeen to every airline and airport in Europe, and hosting the event will undoubtedly bring great benefits to the city and wider region.

"Team Scotland and the local collective working in Marseille this week will learn a great deal about how Routes Europe is run and the work which goes into it, which will help to ensure that the Aberdeen event is a huge success."

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: "Routes Europe is a great opportunity for Scotland to showcase itself to airlines from across the globe. We want to attract more direct international flights and events like this allow us to promote Scotland as a great place to visit and an ambitious, forward-looking country that's keen to do business with international neighbours.

"This conference will also see the mantle passed to Aberdeen as host of Routes Europe 2015, where we will get the chance to highlight the continuing strength of the North-east economy and the exciting future of Aberdeen International Airport as one of the fastest growing airports in the UK."
An ambitious 15 million redevelopment is getting underway at Aberdeen International Airport, designed to transform the customer experience. The project comes hot on the heels of a 24% increase in passenger numbers since 2011, the addition of a number of new routes including Corfu and Riga, and saw the airport enjoy its busiest ever year last year. Passenger numbers are forecast to grow further in the coming decade and this significant investment will ensure the team can continue to deliver excellence in customer service.

Aberdeenshire Provost Jill Webster said: "This important event provides a platform for industry leaders to discuss market opportunities and consider Scotland as a key destination for flights from around the world. I'm delighted it's coming here next year on its first outing to the UK and this is an excellent opportunity to showcase the North-east of Scotland to the rest of the world.

"By hosting Routes Europe we can raise the profile of Aberdeen International Airport amongst airlines and support ongoing route development efforts. This is a chance to promote our area to people at the heart of decision making on aviation matters, and they will be given a taste of Scotland in Aberdeenshire. I will be delighted to welcome delegates to a gala night I'm hosting at Castle Fraser, and they will also be offered a chance to sample the world-class golfing we have on our doorstep."

Visit Aberdeen chief executive Steve Harris added: "Aberdeen has so much to offer in terms of history, culture, attractions and economic growth. It is a city on the move, a city of opportunity. We are delighted to be able to welcome travel industry partners to share it with us."

Aberdeen City and Shire boasts a strong and diverse economy and is home to a multitude of international companies across a range of sectors. These industries rely heavily on the global connections provided by Aberdeen International Airport.

A new Route Development team has been appointed by Aberdeen International Airport to progress the strategy for the airport's development in response to the growing and diversifying needs of the city region.

Routes Europe 2015, which will be held in the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre from 12-14 April, will be the 10th Routes Europe event. It is anticipated that it will attract representatives from 100 to 120 airlines, 350 airports and up to 950 delegates.