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Aviation leaders unite in Langkawi to capitalise on 2023 momentum and define future growth strategies

Aviation leaders unite in Langkawi to capitalise on 2023 momentum and define future growth strategies

According to IATA, Asia Pacific carriers are expected to return to profitability in 2024. Recognising the critical role of the air transport sector in supporting millions of jobs across the region, Routes Asia is set to convene in Langkawi this week (27-29 February), bringing together more than 900 decision makers from airlines, airports, and destinations to define future air connectivity across the region.

Marking its 20th edition, the event will be attended by a record number of airlines. Vice presidents and heads of network planning from 110 of the region’s leading and fastest-growing airlines will engage in over 3,500 meetings with airport and destination representatives to identify new route opportunities. Carriers in attendance include Air India, AirAsia Group, Etihad Airways, Japan Airlines, Qantas, Thai Airways and Vietnam Airlines. View the attendee list

China served as the primary contributor of tourists for numerous Asia-Pacific countries before the pandemic. Representatives from China’s top 10 carriers by ASK will be in attendance at the event. Having held a considerable share of global air passenger demand prior to the pandemic, Air China, China Eastern, China Southern, Hainan Airlines and Shandong Airlines will be evaluating proposals from airports at the event to ascertain which markets to prioritise in their recovery.

Routes Asia will also welcome more than 30 association, airline, airport and destination leaders to participate in the event’s conference programme. The line-up of CEOs includes: 

  • Malaysia Aviation Group’s Group Managing Director, Datuk Captain Izham bin Ismail, will outline how fleet investment will fuel the carrier’s future growth strategy
  • Riyadh Air’s Chief Operating Officer, Peter Bellew, will discuss key target markets for Saudi Arabia’s newest flag carrier
  • Airports Council International Asia and Middle East’s Director General, Stefano Baronci, will examine the outlook for the year ahead, including the impact of rising air fares and the need for further liberalization

View the full conference programme

This year’s event will be hosted by Malaysia Airports and Tourism Malaysia. Having hosted the first three editions of the event (2003-2005), the destination will utilise the platform to increase direct international connectivity to both Langkawi and Malaysia as a whole.

Steven Small, director of Routes, said: “Malaysia Airports and Tourism Malaysia are long standing partners of Routes. This year marks the 20th edition of the event, we are delighted to be in Malaysia again delivering what will be our biggest Routes Asia event.”

Small added: “Route development has perhaps become more important than it has ever been, with airlines scrutinising opportunities more carefully than ever before. Routes Asia continues to play a vital role in this process, providing a meeting place for airline decision makers to negotiate new and existing air services with their airport and destination partners.”

Mohamed Rastam Shahrom, acting group chief executive officer of Malaysia Airports, said: “Routes Asia has become an indispensable platform for fostering collaboration, exploring new opportunities, and driving innovation within the dynamic aviation landscape of the Asia-Pacific region. With over 3,500 meetings expected over the course of this year’s conference, this is the flagship event for aviation players to collaborate on developing new routes within the region. For Malaysia Airports, we look forward to bringing new airlines to our network of airports, and encourage others to start new routes or return to sunny Malaysia.”

Manoharan Periasamy, director general of Tourism Malaysia, said: “Routes Asia provides an excellent platform for us to showcase Malaysia’s appeal as a premier travel destination. As we gear up for Visit Malaysia Year 2026, airline route development and partnerships will be integral to increasing connectivity and accessibility to Malaysia. Langkawi presents the ideal backdrop for delegates to experience Malaysian Hospitality and tremendous appeal as a leisure and business travel destination, supporting our target of achieving 27.3 million tourist arrivals and RM102.7 billion in tourist receipts this year.”

About Routes Events 

Routes events, part of Aviation Week Network, are unique annual forums dedicated to the development of new air services. Regional route development forums are held in the Americas, Asia, Europe and Africa/Middle East. The flagship Routes World event takes place in October. The events revolve around pre-scheduled meetings, an exhibition and conference which are delivered in partnership with host stakeholders. Hosts tend to be a collaboration between airports, tourism authorities and investment partners (the bidding process takes place two to three years before the event takes place). For more information, please visit

About Aviation Week Network

Aviation Week Network is the largest multimedia information and services provider for the global aviation, aerospace, and defense industries, serving 1.7 million professionals around the world. Industry professionals rely on Aviation Week Network to help them understand the market, make decisions, predict trends, and connect with people and business opportunities. Customers include the world’s leading aerospace manufacturers and suppliers, airlines, airports, business aviation operators, militaries, governments and other organizations that serve this worldwide marketplace. Aviation Week Network’s portfolio delivers award-winning journalism, data, intelligence and analytical resources, world-class tradeshows and conferences, and results-driven marketing services and advertising.  

Aviation Week Network is part of Informa Markets, a division of Informa PLC.

About Informa Markets

Informa Markets creates platforms for industries and specialist markets to trade, innovate and grow. Our portfolio is comprised of more than 550 international B2B events and brands in markets including healthcare & Pharmaceuticals, Infrastructure, Construction & Real Estate, Fashion & Apparel, Hospitality, Food & Beverage, and Health & Nutrition, among others. We provide customers and partners around the globe with opportunities to engage, experience and do business through face-to-face exhibitions, specialist digital content and actionable data solutions. As the world’s leading exhibitions organiser, we bring a diverse range of specialist markets to life, unlocking opportunities and helping them to thrive 365 days of the year. For more information, please visit

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