- Associated Press - Sunday, September 21, 2014

CHICAGO (AP) - About 3,000 decision makers in the aviation and tourism sectors have gathered in Chicago for a global conference starting Sunday to forge connections and develop new airline routes.

It’s the first time the World Route Development Forum, an event that’s been likened to speed-dating for the airline industry, is taking place in Chicago and only the second time it’s being held in the United States since it began two decades ago.

Executives from United, American, Emirates and Etihad Airways are among those who will speak and take part in panel discussions.

The event runs through Tuesday at Chicago’s McCormick Place convention center.

Chicago’s commissioner for aviation, Rosemarie Andolino, said the event is a chance the showcase the city and its two international airports and underscore the city’s role as a major aviation hub.

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