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Largest Regional Route Development Event Ever Opens In Budapest

BUDAPEST, Hungary, May 13, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

Nearly 1,100 aviation industry decision makers have gathered in Budapest for the opening of the eighth Routes Europe, the largest regional route development event ever to take place. Over 4,000 face-to-face meetings are scheduled for today and tomorrow for the delegates representing 115 leading airlines, 350 airports and 50 tourism authorities.

The event which is attended by representatives from almost 70 countries is hosted by Budapest Airport, supported by Hungarian Tourism, at the SYMA Conference Venue, Hungary's newest and most modern, state-of-the-art multifunctional facility.

Speaking at the opening press conference in Budapest today, David Stroud, Executive Vice President Routes at UBM Live, said: "With a 60% plus growth in airline delegate numbers since last year's event in Tallinn, Routes Europe 2013 is set to become a milestone for the development of the region's air services. Despite all the difficulties Budapest Airport faced after the demise of the national carrier, they are one of the leading lights in Europe. I am sure that all the delegates will become ambassadors for this fantastic city and its airport."

Jost Lammers, CEO of Budapest Airport, was optimistic about the airport's future: "2012 was extremely difficult with the collapse of our national carrier, but it was an amazing achievement to carry 8.5m passengers here last year, a mere 5% drop." Mr Lammers, who expects passenger numbers to be flat this year, went on to announce an innovative incentive scheme for thin routes. The incentives will be available to airlines which routes that are not yet served from Budapest with a frequency of two to four flights a week.

On the eve of Routes Europe, it already was announced that Bulgaria Air, the national carrier of the Republic of Bulgaria, will commence new direct scheduled services between Sofia and Budapest from 24th June. The new flights will operate four times weekly.

Following the opening press conference, Tomislav Lang, CEO of SkyWork, briefed the media on the recent management buy-out at the Bern-based airline. Following its recent restructuring, the airline is now determined to break even next year. Lang explained that the SkyWork just signed an interlining agreement with KLM, and that it plans to announce a second base this summer, indicating that this base is likely to be in Germany.

Already yesterday some of the most salient topics in European aviation were discussed at the Routes Europe Strategy Summit. More than a dozen high-profile speakers, including Wizz Air CEO, József Váradi and Mr Yiorgos Lakkotrypis, Minister of Commerce, Industry & Tourism, Cyprus about the future plans for the country. Other topics discussed included from Europe and beyond shed light on the "Big Freeze" concerning EU ETS, life after legacy carriers and on the question whether we will see fewer airlines in Europe any time soon. Key quotes from the Strategy Summit can be found here

Next year, Routes Europe will take place in Marseille, France. Already this year, Routes Europe has attracted more French airports than any other route development event.

Notes to Editors

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