Newcastle Airport expansion offers new jobs hope

15.7.2008   (Chronicle)

MULTI-million- pound plans to expand the region’s biggest airport are today revealed.

Airport bosses claim more than 1,500 jobs could be created by the development
of a £20m business park at Newcastle International.

It comes as the airport paid £450,000 to buy-out Samson Aviation, which currently
occupies buildings and land to the south of the main site, where private jets
and helicopters of wealthy businessmen and celebrities land and take off.

The deal also brings the airport’s first terminal back under its control along
with the Aero Club, which has been training pilots for more than 80 years.

Newcastle International’s chief executive Dave Laws spoke exclusively to the
Chronicle about his plans for the site, which include creating a visitor centre
and viewing area for the public.

Mr Laws said: "These are exciting times for the airport. The acquisition of Samson,
including the old terminal building, is part of our wider plans to redevelop the
entire south side of the airport.

"We hope this will provide a huge boost to the regional economy and create hundreds
of jobs.

"That is part of our commitment to give something back to the community we serve
and the facilities we intend to develop are things that have never been seen here

The deal to buy Samson Aviation means Newcastle Airport takes control of the
private terminal, which is used by commercial clientele such as businessmen and
women, sports aces like Toon striker Michael Owen and music stars who jet in to
perform at the Metro Radio Arena.

The terminal also handles transatlantic delivery flights, emergency ambulance
movements, freight flights and military operations.

Mr Laws added: "We’re delighted to acquire Samson Aviation. It has been successfully
operated as a family-run business for 15 years and is already in very good shape.

"Samson has grown successfully over the years and has established an excellent
reputation for the quality of its services.

"We now want to build on that success and have ambitious plans to grow business
aviation and other light aircraft activity at Newcastle International over the
coming years.

"Our aim is to transform the airport into one of the country’s foremost bases
for private aircraft owners."

The Samson buy-out is the latest stage of Newcastle International’s plan to transform
50 acres of land to the south of the main runway.

This includes the creation of an airport business park, split between two sites,
providing more than one million square feet of space for luxury offices, air freight,
hangers and warehouses.

Planning permission for the largest section has already been granted and it will
house aviation-related enterprises such as hangars, freight storage and vehicle
maintenance units.

Permission for the second, smaller section is awaiting approval but, if agreed,
that will see six three-storey office blocks developed along with more than 450
parking spaces.

The project is being managed by UK Land Estates.

The proposals did attract objections from community groups but they have the
backing of the North East Chamber of Commerce, the CBI and the regional development
agency One NorthEast because of the economic benefits they will bring to the region.

Airport chiefs estimate at least 1,500 jobs will be generated by the development
as airport-related firms locate their operations at the site.

It comes as construction continues on the expansion of Newcastle College’s Aviation
Academy, also on the south side of the airport.

Due to open this September, the expansion will create a further 1,500 square
metres of training space for the delivery of the college’s aviation training programmes,
which sees 93% of graduates finding employment in the aviation industry.

The development of the academy will see all students trained at the site, rather
than at the college’s Rye Hill Campus.

Graeme Bell, manager of the Aviation Academy, said: "The expansion of the academy
will help us to further develop a highly-skilled workforce of aviation engineers.

"This can only help to attract airlines and other aviation engineering operators
to our partners, Newcastle International Airport.

"With this will come economic as well as employment benefits – not only for the
students but also the region as a whole."

Margaret Fay, chairwoman at One NorthEast, said: "We are committed to raising
the skills levels in the region and this project is a successful collaboration
between education and business, providing a showcase for the standard of training
we can achieve here.

"Phase two will provide students with additional facilities when it opens at
the beginning of the new term in September, giving them the opportunity to reach
their full potential at the academy."




Newcastle Airport website is at:

To view  the Newcastle airport Masterplan please click on the link below:

Planning permission has been granted for a 4* Ramada hotel located to the front
of the terminal building. An iconic design has been chosen for this gateway site
into the region.