Airport unveils its vision for growth and expansion

The vision of how the airport will grow by 2030.
The vision of how the airport will grow by 2030.

CHIEFS at Newcastle International Airport are confident that they have the right balance after unveiling its expansion plans for the next 17 years.

The 2013-2030 masterplan outlines how the facility aims to have an even bigger role in the North-East economy and shows how the possible additions and improvements might look.

These include extensions to the terminal, additional aircraft and car parking and improved access, alongside the creation of additional offices, hangars and warehouses on the south side.

Officials insist that there will be no significant additional impact on local people, including those living on the Northumberland side of the airport.

The recent launch also marked the beginning of a major consultation process with communities as it gathers the views of neighbours and other key stakeholders on the future developments. This includes a public meeting and roadshow event in Ponteland.

Currently, the airport employs 3,200 people on site and supports 7,800 jobs across the region. The projection for 2030 is that these figures will be 4,100 and 10,000 respectively. The completion of the new Southside Development has the potential to deliver thousands of jobs.

Other forecasts include a rise in the regional economic impact from the 2012 figure of £646million to £1.3billion in 17 years’ time and that passenger numbers will nearly double (up from 4.4 million a year at the moment to 8.5 million by 2030).

Dave Laws, chief executive of Newcastle International Airport, said: “Our aim is to be the UK’s most welcoming airport. As part of this aim we want to provide an improved airport to encourage new routes and attract new customers.

“To do this we need to have additional infrastructure in place and develop the south side, as it will help diversify the airport business and secure new income sources.

“We want to help our neighbours and the wider North-East region understand how the airport will grow in the future. We also want to demonstrate that we have carefully considered the local impacts our plans could have, including on the community, the environment and local roads.

“It’s all about getting the balance right so airlines know what can be developed and achieved at Newcastle over the next two decades and businesses have further confidence to invest in the region, whilst at the same time we’re making sure these plans don’t interfere with people’s lives.”

By 2030 the airport expects to see the following developments to the terminal and airfield:

• Measures to improve the capacity of the runway, such as taxiways and turning points, but no requirement for a runway extension or a second runway.

• Extensions to the terminal and a possible second pier and/or satellite pier development

• Further apron development to the north east of the terminal to accommodate additional aircraft parking.

• Construction of offices, hangars and warehouses on the south side, targeted at both airport and non-airport related occupiers.

• Additional long-stay car parks along with a possible multi-storey short-stay car park adjacent to the terminal building.

The most significant road network plans include new entrance arrangements, including potential improvements to the existing roundabout access and a new dedicated junction to the long-stay car park at Prestwick Roads End, but there is no requirement for a grade-separated junction.

The possible implementation of the Callerton Link Road between Ponteland Road and the A696 is also included.

Officials say that there is likely to be a limited increase in aircraft noise affecting local residents across the masterplan period, although mitigation measures will be taken. Ground noise is not expected to change significantly up to 2030 and while activity from vehicles and aircraft is set to increase, continuing improvements in emissions technologies should ensure that there will be no significant impact on air-quality levels.

The airport’s planning and corporate affairs director, Graeme Mason, said: “As the economic recovery comes, companies in our region will increasingly look to compete in the global marketplace and they need a strong airport with excellent facilities and the ability to expand its operations.

“The measures we have announced will enable us to achieve this vital growth. A runway extension was considered in the previous masterplan, but aircraft technology improvements mean that we believe it is no longer required.

“We’re putting forward these plans now so that when we do need to develop the airport, it will be as straightforward a process as possible.

“The plans won’t have a harmful impact on local residents. For example, we’re looking to increase the number of car-parking spaces over the masterplan period from 7,500 to 15,000 across the site and this includes more spaces to the north of the terminal, but we’ve made it clear to Prestwick residents that all this development will remain to the south of the trees planted in the mid-1990s.

“We’re aiming to keep the number of noise complaints at a low level and a noise and track monitoring system will be implemented before the end of the consultation period.

“Technological improvements mean we’re fine tuning our departures so that they go exactly along the line they are supposed to, ground manoeuvring measures will be introduced and scheduled engine testing is being carried out in areas of least impact.”

Newcastle International Airport, which opened in 1935, is a publicprivate partnership. Seven local authorities own 51 per cent (Durham County Council, Gateshead Council, Newcastle City Council, Northumberland County Council, North Tyneside Council, South Tyneside Council and Sunderland City Council) and 49 per cent is owned by AMP Capital.

Representatives from county, town and parish councils and other local organisations form the Newcastle Airport Consultative Committee and they meet with officials four times a year.

Vice-Chairman John Scott, who represents the Darras Hall Estate Committee, believes that the masterplan won’t have a negative affect on residents. “The airport is a major asset to the region and thousands of local families don’t have to travel very far to go on a foreign holiday. It is also used by many business workers to travel to other parts of the UK and abroad.

“It is looking to carry out a gradual expansion and I welcome the consultation events as people will get the chance to see what is being planned in detail and put questions to key officials.”

A section of the airport’s website – www.newcastleair – has a full copy of the document and details of public meetings and drop-in sessions. They include a public meeting in Ponteland Memorial Hall on Thursday, August 29, at 7pm and a roadshow in the week commencing August 26 at Ponteland Library.