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Barcelona hosts record-breaking aviation congress

Record number of airlines present at annual meeting of airports, airlines, and aviation shareholders taking place this week in the capital

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22 September 2017 04:56 PM

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ACN | Barcelona

The world's most important commercial aviation industry congress will be held in Barcelona this week from Saturday until Tuesday, bringing together a record number of 3000 delegates, 700 airports, 300 airlines, as well as representatives from 130 tourism authorities and 110 countries.

The congress, held each year in a different city, brings together the main decision-makers of the aviation industry in order to negotiate new air routes for the following year.

The Minister of Territory and Sustainability, Josep Rull, explained how the Generalitat and Barcelona's City Council aim to make the most of the congress, using it as a “showcase” in order to “sell the airport of Barcelona but also the city and country.”

"This will be a historic year for World Routes, with the participation of more companies, more airports, more delegates and more countries," he said.

The goal is to extend intercontinental routes to and from Barcelona's El Prat airport, with the creation of new direct links to cities such as Tokyo, Mumbai, Dallas, Boston, or Mexico City.

The minister took advantage of the occasion to say that there are 250 airlines more than usual present in the city, but regretted that the situation could be “more competitive” if “all the tools” of management were at hand, referring to current tax policies. He went on to reassure that El Prat is “fully capable” of taking on new routes.

The capital's second deputy mayor, Jaume Collboni noted how the city continues to have “the confidence of many international operators” following the attacks on August 17.

In 2017, Barcelona has already gained 44 new intercontinental routes with the opening of Norwegian's new long-haul base and the launch of new low-cost airline Level.

Collboni went on to say that “offering routes that connect parts of the world such as Asia or the West Coast of the United States” demonstrates an improvement in the “quality” of tourism, as well as a “transformation of the tourist model.

According to organizers, cities that host World Routes benefit from an economic impact of 160 million dollars in three years, mostly coming from new air routes.

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  • Image of a plane from Emirates Airlines in Barcelona El Prat Airport (by ACN)

  • Image of a plane from Emirates Airlines in Barcelona El Prat Airport (by ACN)