Travel and aviation industry heavyweights from across the globe are heading to Abu Dhabi to attend the 18th World Route Development Forum this weekend. Almost 3,000 delegates from more than 125 countries will attend the forum in the UAE, 16 years after the city hosted it back in 1996. It’s also the first time that the forum has been hosted twice in the same city.

From September 29 to October 2, the forum is the event of the year for the airline network planning community. The focus: the future of global air services.

Wego’s Chief Marketing Officer and VP Airline Relations, Dean Wicks, will also attend and stated that the event is ‘a great opportunity to gather such a multitude of senior airline and airport representatives together in one location, discussing the future of world aviation, from all corners of the globe’. And he should know, Wicks has been a part of the international travel industry for more than 20 years.

“I’ve been working for and with airlines for years so it’s a great opportunity to meet up with those I know and not seen for a while and also create exciting new business opportunities,” he said.

Wicks will highlight the enormous value of a relationship with Wego to aviation representatives in a market that is enjoying an incredible 1000 per cent growth following the launch of 11 Wego websites in the Middle East and North Africa earlier this year.

To be able to connect with all the world’s carriers and airport authorities in one location is immensely appreciated by the industry, it’s value underscored by the seniority of market leaders in attendance, resulting in the forum being heralded as  the most important aviation event in the world.

“It’s also very apt that Abu Dhabi host this year’s World Route Development Forum with their national carrier Etihad Airways currently evolving as the fastest growing airline in the world,” he noted.

The exhibition will cover six halls at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC) with four airline meeting halls, 65 stands and 14 meeting chalets. A two day conference to discuss strategies, opportunities and issues facing the aviation industry will be held, including separate seminars covering tourism, social media and online marketing, industry issues and suppliers.

Abu Dhabi will shine it’s shoes too in preparation for delegates to experience one of the most futuristic, cutting-edge destinations in the world, strategically situated and globally accessible thanks to Etihad’s expanding network. The Abu Dhabi Airports Company has organised an Insider’s Guide to Abu Dhabi on their website, a daily blog from their executive team; Routes Online will provide up to the minute and breaking news via @TheHUBRoutes on Twitter and on the Routes Online website and further information about Abu Dhabi’s attractions and cultural heritage attractions can be found at

“Wego provides a perfect opportunity for airlines to directly connect to their customers,” explained Wicks. “As Wego has quickly established itself as the Middle East’s clear metasearch leader and the region’s largest online travel site, I’m looking forward to sharing our expansive knowledge and experience with the online travel customer with all travel industry operators.”

“From a personal point of view, I’m also really excited about going back to Abu Dhabi,” he said explaining that it’s been 12 years since he’s returned, which was during his time working with Royal Brunei Airlines which saw him visit and enjoy the city frequently.