Minister’s high praise for airport during visit

From left, Coun Iain Malcolm, Sophie Dekkers, UK country director at easyJet, Baroness Sugg and Nick Jones.
From left, Coun Iain Malcolm, Sophie Dekkers, UK country director at easyJet, Baroness Sugg and Nick Jones.

The Government’s aviation minister has hailed Newcastle International Airport as one of the North East’s ‘great success stories’ as new figures revealed a 10-year-high in passenger numbers.

Baroness Sugg visited Newcastle International Airport earlier today as part of Northern Powerhouse International Week.

The latest statistics show that it enjoyed its best start to a year since 2008 – with more than 283,000 passengers passing through its terminal in January alone.

The rise comes on the back of a series of extra routes opening up at the airport, which has also just been announced as an official Northern Powerhouse partner.

New flights are running to a number of destinations, including Egypt, Tunisia and Iceland.

Baroness Sugg said: “Newcastle International Airport is undoubtedly one of the North East’s great success stories, bringing thousands of jobs to the area and delivering vital links with countries around the world.

“And we are determined to help boost productivity in the region even further, starting with the significant investment we’re making in transport infrastructure to improve connections between the North’s towns, cities and counties.”

Nick Jones, chief executive officer at Newcastle International Airport, said the team was delighted with the Government’s announcement today and it is “committed to continuing to help the region achieve its best in the future”.

The airport is part-owned by seven local authorities in the North East, including Northumberland County Council.

Coun Iain Malcolm, leader of South Tyneside Council and lead of the LA7 shareholders, said: “Newcastle International Airport is hugely important to the North East, both as a gateway for the region and as a generator of jobs and millions of pounds for the local economy.

“The airport team and its shareholders work tirelessly to open up new markets for both our leisure and business customers.

“We have already demonstrated with Emirates that we can both secure and make a success of a game-changing new air route.”

As a result of the announcement, Newcastle International Airport will help to promote and publicise the Northern Powerhouse.

Jake Berry, Northern Powerhouse minister, said: “I’m delighted to welcome Newcastle International Airport as our newest Northern Powerhouse partner.

“With its international flights connecting the Northern Powerhouse to the wider world, boosting exports by millions of pounds and driving up visitor numbers to the region, they are helping create a truly Global North.”