New Year celebrations may be long gone now, but I am still celebrating being appointed the new editor of the magazine – and what a time it is to take up the role.
Although final International Air Transport Association figures for 2015 are yet to be fully compiled, in the first 10 months a 5% fall in average fares in currency adjusted terms has helped drive a 3% rise in air travel.
This has led to the association predicting 3.5 billion aviation passengers for 2015 and while it has revised its prediction for 2034 from 7.4 billion to 7 billion due to negative developments in the global economy, especially as China’s economic growth slows, this is still double the 2015 figure.
All countries are set to bear the brunt of China’s slowing economy and certainly as Routes Americas starts, our own report on Brazil (page 25) shows there are problems in both the country and the region. But problems are there to be solved. Our main feature with Air Canada’s Klaus Goersch (page 12) shows how the conclusion of longrunning labour disputes and an intensive cost reduction programme has left the airline free to pursue a strategy of expansion.
And it’s coming at the right time according to Andrew Watterson of Southwest Airlines (page 32) who believes the US market now offers some of the greatest returns as airline consolidation combines with strong economic growth and falling fuel prices.
The improved conditions are being felt by the airports as well as the airlines; Seattle-Tacoma International Airport boss Mark Reis reveals the facility is among the fastest growing in the US and he remains confident for the future.
All of this will undoubtedly be dissected in the Routes Americas Strategy Summit and will also be part of the background driving many of the negotiations held over the three-day event.
Having written exhaustively about destinations for Routes News publisher TTG Media, I am also sure that host Puerto Rico will do an excellent job.
In fact, I couldn’t be more excited about attending my first Routes event and I am sure that the hosts of the following Routes Asia, the Philippine Department of Tourism, will work hard to deliver an equally successful event.
Most importantly, I am looking forward to meeting all of you – the people who drive this industry – at the many events to be held this year.
ASM’s Tony Griffin has referred to route development managers as superheroes (page 21) – and if you really are, as well as everyone else in the industry, then I am confident we will all finish 2016 with something to celebrate.
editor, Routes News