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PEOPLE Mark Bassarab Three questions for... 1 … Mark Bassarab, regional sales manager EMEA, Routes


What are your priorities for World Routes?


Our number one priority this year has been to maximise the


airports’ time with the airlines. There is lots to coordinate with the summit, exhibition and evening receptions, but fundamentally the most important thing is the face-to-face meetings. This year we will also be trialling a new initiative called FastTrack, which offers short introductory meetings in addition to the formal 20 or 50-minute session. Following the expansion of the extra meeting system, we have seen that more opportunities to talk make for happier airports and airlines. Once the event starts, our focus moves to the future, so we will be spending most of our time discussing World Routes 2018 in Guangzhou, as well as the regional events. Stand bookings for the following World Routes open at 10am on the Sunday and are always the busiest part of the event for the four-continent Routes commercial team. We are lucky to be in one of the


greatest cities in the world for the event, so have complete confidence that the delegates will enjoy themselves in Barcelona. This will be the largest World Routes event yet, with significant increases in the number of airlines, airports and tourism authorities attending from 2016.


2


What issues and opportunities have you seen this year?


Bringing the event back to Europe has been a long-term ambition. The continent hasn’t hosted a World Routes since Berlin in 2011 and the market has changed substantially since then. The region is still seeing strong


growth but some of the major hubs are starting to face capacity constraints. How Europe deals with this will affect global travel patterns, especially with the emergence of the planned super hubs in China, Dubai and Turkey. The arrival of the low- cost, long-haul sector is interesting, and with Barcelona Airport boasting both Norwegian and LEVEL operations it’s a perfect time for them to host. Norwegian continues to be one of the most requested airlines at our events, showing the faith airports have in their model. Many airports are also successfully working with tourism partners now to outline potential new routes to the airlines. Starting off with only a few early champions in the tourism sector, we now have a significant number of delegates playing a key role in supporting airports or negotiating new services. We have also been fortunate that global geopolitical issues, including Brexit, the Donald Trump travel ban and ongoing terror threat, haven’t yet significantly impacted the market and hopefully this will stay the same for the future. We have seen a huge appetite from


European airports and destinations to showcase themselves this year. We have had great success in significantly increasing airline attendees and in IAG CEO Willie Walsh and WOW air founder and CEO Skúli Mogenson we have two of the most recognisable names in aviation taking part in the World Routes Summit.


“Bringing the event back to Europe has been a long-term ambition. The continent hasn’t hosted a World Routes since Berlin in 2011”


138 ISSUE 5 ROUTES NEWS 2016 routesonline.com


3


Best and worst part of the job?


The best part of the job


is meeting the people who attend the event. As part of the world’s second biggest events organiser UBM, you really get to see how unique Routes is. The event has a real community feel, with many remembering the first Routes event in 1995, not that they all like to admit this. The Routes team always receives a warm welcome from our partners and we are dedicated to making each event better than the last. The obvious positive is also the biggest negative – each event is held somewhere new and totally different. Learning how at least four new venues and teams work each year is always a challenge, but gives the team and I the chance to visit often completely unknown cities for the first time. But this challenge is all part of the fun and with some really exciting locations lined up for the next three years, we are confident the world’s route development community will continue to support Routes.


World Routes hosts: See the full list of 2017 and 2018 World Routes hosts and venues online


at routesonline.com/events


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