Newcastle International Airport has published its adopted Masterplan 2035, setting out the airports “ambitious” plans for the future, and aiming to enable the airport to “compete in the global aviation marketplace” while delivering economic benefits to the North East, surrounding regions and the rest of the UK.
The publishing of the Masterplan follows a 16-week consultation period which welcomed feedback from the public, local businesses and stakeholders on the draft plan.
The final plan sets out the airports goals for its centenary year of 2035 and incorporates the airport’s new inbound tourism strategy which will target “thousands” of extra tourists from across Europe and beyond – as well as the airport’s aims to further enhance the customer experience, including through the introduction of new technology to provide a seamless passenger journey.
The new Masterplan also provides a framework to accommodate up to 9.4 million passengers by 2035 – up from the 5.4 million passengers that passed through the airport in 2018.
The airport hopes future improvements in aircraft performance will mean future destinations can be served from the existing runway, but suggested it is also “prudent” to safeguard for a possible runway extension, with a possible extension of 700m at the eastern end now safeguarded, “thereby ensuring that the North East has the opportunity to secure new long-haul air routes in the future.”
Calling the airport a “strong asset” to the region, Nick Jones, chief executive officer at Newcastle International Airport, said: “The airport is a global and regional gateway, therefore the connectivity that we provide is absolutely vital.
“This is why the Masterplan is so important, and I hope that it will enhance the experience of the millions of passengers who will continue to use the North East’s largest airport for many years to come.”
James Ramsbotham, chief executive of the North East England Chamber of Commerce commented: “We fully support this ambitious Masterplan and its proposals to support the growth of the North East economy.
“With over 5 million passengers in 2018, Newcastle International Airport is key in ensuring our region is well connected which is so fundamental to both domestic and international businesses success.”
He added that the range of measures, such as those to increase inbound tourism “will have a significant impact and increase visitor spending.”
With 3,500 people employed on site and 18,900 jobs supported across the region, and a contribution to GVA of £1.16 billion, the airport said it is one of the biggest jobs and economic generators in the North East, but the Masterplan aims to enable the creation of more jobs and “further reinforce the role of the airport in driving forward the regional economy.”
By 2035, the airport anticipates the number of jobs supported across the North East could grow to 27,800 and the contribution to GVA could reach up to £2.03 billion.
“Newcastle Airport provides a key gateway to the North East and generates millions of pounds for the regional economy,” said Cllr Iain Malcolm, Leader of South Tyneside Council and Lead of the LA7 local authority shareholders. “The masterplan sets out the Airport’s ambitious strategy going forward, including how it seeks to further enhance the customer experience and reinforce its importance, both as a regional and global asset.”
During the consultation, the airport’s dedicated Masterplan 2035 website saw 23,000 unique views and almost 55,000 page views.