NEWS Update

Routes Europe heads to Bilbao for 2018

Bilbao will host Routes Europe 2018 after winning the bidding process. The northern Spanish port will host the event in April with about 1,200 representatives from more than 100 airlines, 300 airports and 40 tourism authorities expected to attend.

The city has become increasingly popular in recent years having seen an increase of 34.6% in visitor numbers between 2004 and 2014, culminating in 2.55 million visitors in 2014. Bilbao Airport is the entry point

for not only the city but much of the Basque country. In 2015 it served 4.27 million passengers following a

Bilbao has won the bid to host Routes Europe 2018

year-on-year increase of 6.5%. Neil Mulligan, senior future host manager at Routes, said: “Our delegates are always looking for new markets to explore so they will be excited by this announcement – Bilbao is a fantastic city to host Routes Europe.” Itziar Epalza, vice minister of

trade and tourism at the Basque Government, said: “Basquetour and the Basque Government have been working together on a positioning strategy as a tourist destination for a long time. Connectivity is vital to bring more tourists which is why we decided to bid to host Routes Europe.”

Virgin orders a dozen A350s

Virgin Atlantic has ordered a dozen new A350s with the first expected to commence service in within three years.

Speaking at the Farnborough

International Airshow 2016, Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson said the Airbus A350-1000s will be in two different layouts, one for the regular fleet seating up to 360 and another for leisure routes, seating 410. They will enter service in early 2019, initially on key scheduled US routes from Heathrow Airport, and replace the airline’s remaining Boeing 747s and Airbus A340-600s. They will then be used on leisure routes out of Gatwick Airport. Eight of these aircraft will be

purchased and four leased in a deal that is valued at $4.4 billion at list price. It means a long-standing order for Airbus A380 Super Jumbos, which Virgin placed around a decade ago and has continuously deferred, looks certain to be cancelled.

Qatar Airways takes 10% LATAM stake Qatar Airways’ global network, Akbar Al Baker, Group CEO of

LATAM Airlines Group and Qatar Airways have entered a new agreement giving the Middle Eastern airline an opportunity to buy a 10% stake in its oneworld alliance partner. Announcing the deal at

Farnborough International Air Show, the two CEOs said the deal means Qatar has entered into a subscription agreement allowing it to acquire up to 10% of LATAM’s total shares in connection with a capital increase. As part of the subscription

agreement, the South American airline group will hold an Extraordinary Shareholders Meeting no later than September 2, 2016, to propose a capital increase in the amount of $613 million through the issuance of new shares at a price of $10 per share.


Qatar Airways, said: “As a leading airline in Latin America, and key member of oneworld, this investment provides potential opportunities for

alongside our successful invest- ment in IAG.” LATAM Airlines Group CEO Enrique Cueto added: “This investment recognises LATAM Airlines Group’s achievements and supports our project for the future.

“In addition to strengthening our financial position, it will allow us to explore new opportunities for connectivity with Asia and the Middle East, as well as other potential areas of cooperation.”

LATAM Airlines’ Enrique Cueto (left) and Qatar Airways’ Akbar Al Baker

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