I’m delighted to welcome you to the 11th Routes Europe in Krakow.
Routes Europe 2016 will mark the second time that the event takes place in Poland, after the first ever Routes Europe took place in Warsaw in 2006, with almost 300 delegates in attendance. This year, we welcome 1,200 delegates to Kraków.
In 2015, Krakow Airport welcomed over 4 million passengers and in the 2016 summer schedule, the airport provides connections to 60 destinations such as Frankfurt, London, Paris and Rome, operated by 21 airlines.
Poland boasts over 100 years of history and tradition in the aviation industry, and more than 80 years of experience of aircraft production and aviation personnel training thanks to a well-trained labour force. The resistance of the country’s aviation industry to the turbulence of the world economy is partly due to the large number of small and medium-sized businesses, including family businesses that continue to supply parts and machinery to aircraft manufacturers across the globe.
Over the past 20 years, the volume of aircraft production on the global market has doubled in Poland and it now counts over 120 aviation and aviation-related companies employing more than 25,000 skilled workers in one of the most innovative sectors in the country’s economy.
Over a decade on from its accession to the European Union, the resulting boost to the Polish economy is clear to see, thanks to its booming exports, which mostly head to other EU countries. A year before accession, Poland generated an annual GDP of £130 billion; by 2013, that figure had grown to £305 billion. Meanwhile, GDP per capita has risen from 44 per cent of the EU average on accession to over 65 per cent today and is forecast to reach 74 per cent by 2020.
In addition to your face-to-face meetings, I encourage you to explore the city of Krakow and the surrounding areas during your time here. Poland’s cultural capital and second largest city, offers over 1,000 cultural institutions including museums, galleries, cinemas, theatres and music venues. The city and the region of Malopolska are also home to twelve UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the city’s charming old town and Wawel Castle, the historic seat of Polish kings.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank our Host, Krakow Airport and their partners, for their support in organising this year’s event.
On behalf of Routes, I wish you all a productive and enjoyable Routes Europe.
Group Director, Aviation & Technology