Newcastle Airport celebrates its 80th birthday this week.
The airport saw its first flight on 26th July 1935, when the then Air Minister, Philip Cunliffe-Lister took to the skies on a De Havilland Dragon Rapide.
And how things have changed since then, when wooden huts controlled the airport base. Now the airport, fondly referred to by many as the North East’s gate way to the world, its 4.5 million annual passengers can fly to a myriad of short and long haul destinations, including Dubai and New York!
Speaking about the exciting future the airport has, Business Chief Executive, Dave Laws, who started his career at the airport as a Fireman, said, “The airport in 2030 will look very different. In the last decade we have seen a great deal of change with customers now looking to check in online or on their phone and that will continue. I think the way security screening is done will be transformed, our retail, food and drink offering will develop further and aircraft technology will develop further. Already we’re seeing things like the 787 Dreamliner, which has a much lower environmental impact.”
The airport has benefitted from steady growth over the years, as it continues to improve passenger services and facilities; take for example the airport’s new departure lounge which is due for completion this year. Increased demand by passengers means that both new and existing airlines are investing in Newcastle. As a result, easyJet have added many new routes, whilst American Airlines has joined airport to open up the transatlantic market.
And as well as healthy growth in passenger numbers, up 2% this year compared with last, operating profit has also increased by a hefty 8% to £22.5million.
Mr Law added, “Though people say technology will mean people will travel less, if the North East economy grows as we hope and it becomes a globally competitive region, then people will travel because you’ve always in the end got to meet people and shake hands. People’s aspirations are also greater and the world has been opened up by air travel – and we want to be able to serve that from Newcastle, without them having to travel long distances to Edinburgh or Manchester.”