A GOVERNMENT minister was full of praise for Newcastle International Airport’s future vision during a special visit.
Significant areas of land are allocated to the south of the site for the new Business Park, which will include offices, freight and logistics warehouses and engineering hangers that collectively have the potential to deliver more 7,000 jobs.
Phase one of the development consists of 175,000 sq foot of office accommodation in six buildings and it was launched on Monday by aviation minister Robert Goodwill, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport.
The full project has been divided into four stages in total and airport chiefs believe that it will be attractive to telecommunications, technology and IT firms, oil and gas businesses and professional services as well as aviation related companies.
It is part of the facility’s 2013-2030 masterplan, which also includes extensions to the terminal, additional aircraft and car parking and improved access.
As part of the visit, Mr Goodwill was taken to the state-of-the-art Emirates Air Traffic Control Tower and the airport’s fire station and Fire Training Academy. He also got to see its new Wide Area Multilateration (WAM) system, which supports the primary radar and helps it to deliver Air Traffic Control services across the region’s airspace.
Speaking at the launch, he said: “Newcastle is a key UK airport and vital for the North East economy.
“I’m pleased it has recognised its potential as a magnet for development because going up and down the country, you get to see that many jobs in a range of sectors are located at or connected to airports.
“The key word here is connectivity. The companies that come in are right next to a facility which provides access to countries across the world, particularly through the airport’s Dubai link, and workers can easily get to the Business Park as it is close to the Callerton Parkway Metro station.
“The airport doesn’t have the noise problems that others areas do and it has generally made the right decisions over the years. Coupled with the investment in the terminal and other areas, it has now established itself as a rival to other airports in the north.”
The masterplan went out to consultation last summer and there was a public meeting and roadshow event in a number of locations, including Ponteland.
Planning and corporate affairs director at Newcastle International Airport, Graeme Mason, said that hundreds of people responded and there was a ‘great degree of support for the plans and very few objections’.
He added: “I think the recent economic downturn made people realise how important the airport is to the region.
“We have built up trust with the nearby communities over the last 20 years because we have always met our commitments, so people believe us when we make promises.
“The projects identified in the masterplan will bring many benefits to the local economy and the Business Park is a key component.
“We will very carefully consult with the public on each firm proposal we bring forward in the coming years.”