Newcastle Airport News
EasyJet plans to close bases at Stansted, Newcastle and Southend – and cut staff by as much as 4,500
EasyJet says it has begun consultations on plans to close its bases at Stansted, Southend and Newcastle airports, though it will keep routes using those airports. It will no longer keep planes there, or base crew there. EasyJet may also be cutting its number of employees by up to a third, about 4,500 out of 15,000 overall. About 1,300 cabin crew could lose their jobs, and also 727 pilots (which is about a third of the total). The Unite union said “There is no need for this announcement at this time, especially since Easyjet has taken a multi-million pound government loan which it ought to be putting to use defending UK jobs.” But there is little demand for flying at present, and no certainty about Covid in the coming months. Easyjet currently has 11 bases in the UK, with 163 aircraft, serving 546 routes. There are 7 aircraft based at Stansted, with 335 crew. At Southend, there are 4 aircraft and 183 crew; and at Newcastle there are 3 planes and 157 crew. The job cut proposals are not limited to the bases that may close. EasyJet does not expect 2019 levels of demand to be reached again until 2023.
Newcastle Airport expansion plans slammed by Green Party as ‘harmful’ to health in the North East
The Green Party say planned expansion of Newcastle International Airport flies in the face of efforts to tackle climate change and improve public health in the North East. The Greens have set out a stinging critique of the wide-ranging ‘Masterplan 2035’ set out earlier this year. The public consultation on the plans closed earlier this month. By 2035, the aim is to drive passenger numbers up by 74% to 9.4m a year and increase the amount of freight coming through the airport – in order (in theory) to boost the region’s economy. Environmentalists say it is in incompatible with national and local policy designed to improve air quality and cut CO2 emissions. A spokesman for the Greens said: “More flights at Newcastle Airport would take us in the opposite direction to our national and international legal obligations, and the resulting increase in road traffic would worsen already-illegal levels of air pollution.” The airport claims that restricting its expansion “would undermine the competitiveness of our region and make it difficult for businesses to operate.” The airport wants more investment in public transport to the airport.
Grand Central applies to run an extra train service per day (up from 5) from Sunderland and Hartlepool to London
Rail operator Grand Central is applying to increase its services from Sunderland and Hartlepool to London. The company reconnected Sunderland’s direct rail service to the capital in 2007, also serving other stations on the North East coast including Hartlepool. Now the firm is applying to up its number of return services on the route from five to six between Sunderland and London. Grand Central, now part of the Arriva Group, has begun consultation with other train companies and the infrastructure operator Network Rail on its plans, which include increasing services on its West Riding routes in Yorkshire. Once that is complete, the application for the extra services will be submitted to the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) for consideration. The additional train services in the North East and Yorkshire will provide an extra 1,600 daily seats in total to or from the capital, which Grand Central says is in response to demand from its customers for more services for their local communities. Yet more passengers who can take the train, and not need to fly.
Newcastle Airport’s part owner (49%), Australian AMP Capital, buys Leeds Bradford Airport
The Australian investment group which owns almost half of Newcastle Airport has bought another airport in the North, Leeds Bradford. AMP Capital, which took a 49% stake in Newcastle Airport in 2012 (51% is owned by 7 local authorities in Tyne and Wear, Northumberland and County Durham), has bought Leeds Bradford outright – after buying it from European investment group Bridgepoint. AMP Capital say the airport offers a “highly attractive investment and a great fit for its global infrastructure platform”. It is likely that a competition probe could take place on the deal, with one company potentially having a major stake in two Northern airports whose target markets have some crossover. Though theoretically serving a larger population area, Leeds Bradford is currently smaller than Newcastle Airport, with many people in Yorkshire choosing to fly instead from Manchester. Newcastle recorded 4.8m passengers in 2016 compared to Leeds Bradford’s 3.6m.
Newcastle Airport is currently embarking on a £20m investment programme backed by AMP that will see a new immigration area being developed, along with extensions to the departure lounge and a new baggage system.
Flybe twice daily flights on weekdays to Stansted, and once daily at weekends, starting in March
Flybe is expanding its Stansted’s UK connections with three new services – to the Isle of Man, Newcastle and Newquay. The service to the Isle of Man, which will operate three times a day by the end of March. Next will be Newcastle on 29th March to provide passengers with twice daily direct connections during the week and daily at weekends to the North East. Newquay will be the third new route to join Flybe’s network at Stansted with a daily service from 16th May having initially been announced as a ‘seasonal part week summer service’.
Flybe restores Newcastle Airport’s direct flights to Stansted – so no need to get slots at Heathrow or Gatwick
Passengers will be able to fly direct between Stansted and Newcastle, with Flybe, for the first time in 4 years after the airline announced twice daily flights. They will start at the end of March 2015. The North East has been without a service to Stansted for almost four years, since easyJet stopped flying it in 2011. There are claims about the importance of flights to London, for the region’s connectivity. A link to Stansted will make access easier for people from the North East to London, but also to the area around Stansted, parts of Norfolk, Hertfordshire, Suffolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire. Stansted’s MD Andrew Harrison said this will help business but also be “very popular additions to the route network for leisure connections.” ie. boost holiday flights from Stansted. But one more reason why extra runway slots are not needed at Gatwick or Heathrow, instead sensibly using space runway capacity at Stansted. There are already direct flights by BA between Newcastle and Heathrow, and by EasyJet between Newcastle and Gatwick. Also flights to Schiphol, Brussels and Paris. Newcastle destination map.
United Airlines to launch direct flights between Newcastle and New York – so no need to travel via London
United Airlines will introduce direct flights between Newcastle and Newark airport, New York. There will be 5 per week, from May to September 2015. This will be Newcastle’s first scheduled non-stop trans-Atlantic service. The flights will use a Boeing 757-200 aircraft with a total of 169 seats, 16 flat-bed seats in United BusinessFirst and 153 in United Economy, including 45 Economy Plus seats with added extra space. The airport’s MD said this would offer the people of Northeast England “easy, convenient travel options not only to New York City but also to destinations throughout the Americas.” Presumably it will largely be used for people from the UK taking leisure trips to the USA, but the publicity is that it will also enhance “regional connectivity, growing the regional economy, attracting inward investment and encouraging inbound tourism from North America.” So this is one more route that enables people in the north of England to travel, without having to use Heathrow or a southern airport. One one bit of confirmation that a new south east runway is unnecessary. The list of direct long haul flights from regional airports is growing.
Newcastle airport produces new draft master plan for increasing number of leisure passengers
July 26, 2013
Newcastle Airport published a master plan in 1994, and another in 2003. That predicted by 2030 it might have 9 million passengers. There is now another draft master plan, out for consultation until 31st October, which anticipates perhaps 8.5 million passengers by 2030 (DfT anticipates around 6.3 million). They want to grow passenger numbers from the 4.4 million by 2030 and increase aircraft movements from 62,200 to up to 87,500 – making it one of the top 10 biggest airports in the UK. There are the usual predictions of more jobs (they say the airport now “supports” (vague term) 7,800 jobs across the region and by 2030 this will rise to 10,000. The airport hopes to develop 2 business parks on land south of the runway – one to extend existing aviation-related activities such as freight, and a new site for offices. They say these have the potential to deliver “thousands more” jobs. The airport says it contributed £646m to the regional economy in 2012, and by 2030 it is estimated that this figure will “more than double.” In 2005 some 22% of passengers were on business; by the 2009 CAA air passenger survey, it was only 20% on business. ie. 80% of passengers are leisure, contributing to taking their holiday money out of the UK.
Emirates considers direct flights to the USA from UK northern airports, not Heathrow
July 26, 2013
Dubai’s Emirates Airline is interested in getting into the competitive transatlantic market, and offer flights from Dubai to the US via the UK. This market is currently dominated by BA, Virgin Atlantic, Delta Air Lines and American Airlines. Emirates will need to get regulatory approval first. Emirates believes there is strong unmet demand for flights from the north of England to the USA and last year carried 800,000 passengers on its routes in and out of its hubs in the north of England: Glasgow, Newcastle, Manchester and Birmingham. There are growing numbers of Emirates passengers and services from these northern UK airports. In October, Emirates will launch flights from Dubai to New York via Milan. Their UK vice president said they are asking the Airports Commission to look at making all the regional airports completely open skies, so anyone can fly anywhere. If they use the northern airports, there is less pressure on the south east airports, and less rationale for building another runway. “Heathrow sits in the south of England, but Manchester has a bigger catchment area in terms of a two-hour drive.” If Emirates goes through with the plan BA and Virgin will be the big losers.
Newcastle Airport in Court of Appeal over blame for earlier excessive bonus payments
June 21, 2013
Newcastle Airport has been at the Court of Appeal battling to convince top judges to overrule a previous decision not to punish a law firm (Eversheds) which the airport said was to blame for under-the-radar awards to its former chief executive and finance director. The airport says contracts which handed airport bosses a controversial multi-million pound pay package were “dramatically inconsistent with the principle of fair and responsible remuneration”, a judge has heard. The airport’s leadership group NIAL suffered a stinging defeat last year when a High Court judge ruled that responsibility for the debacle lay not with Eversheds LLP but with non-executive directors sitting on the company’s remuneration committee. They had inadvertently permitted the executives to “dictate” the terms of their contracts and had not read them properly before signing them.” Newcastle airport is majority-owned by 7 North East councils, who did not know about contract negotiations & bonus deals in 2005 & 2006.
Airlines like Emirates keen to fly from regional airports (like Newcastle) – reducing future demand at Heathrow and Gatwick
March 25, 2013 Heathrow Airport has been saying recently that, though it is desperate to get a third runway, even they realise that there is not the demand for a 4th runway. The DfT has consistently over-estimated the amount of passenger demand over the last decade. In reality, passengers from parts of the UK other than the south east can get long haul flights from regional airports. The UK Vice President of Emirates says he wants to expand flights from UK’s regional airports, rather than Heathrow or Gatwick, and has a direct flight from Newcastle to Dubai, for transfers on from there. With that happening more and more in future, the south east airports’ dreams for expansion in the south east, requiring a massive hub airport, look less and less probable. Forecasts more than a few years ahead are based on so many uncertainties and unknowns as to be almost without value. Making best use of existing airports is more efficient than grandiose new infrastructure projects which run the risk of being white elephants. Had a second Stansted runway been built by 2012, it would now be standing idle. Click here to view full story…
Brussels Airlines to ground Newcastle to Brussels flight link
Feb 21 2013 It is cancelling its direct flights from Newcastle to Brussels. Brussels Airlines currently runs 3 flights a day, 6 days a week from the region to Brussels. Only last month, as part of a deal with budget operator Flybe, it announced plans to increase capacity by 60%. But future flights were quietly dropped from the company’s website, and now airport bosses have admitted the route is under threat and they are looking for someone else to take it on. North East Euro MP Fiona Hall said the move risked sending out the wrong message to companies looking to invest in the area. But the North East Chamber of Commerce said the move needs to be considered alongside the recent positive announcements of more flights to other parts of Europe. Seven weeks ago, a 78-seater Bombardier Q400 aircraft was introduced on the route, increasing capacity on the thrice-daily service by 60%. At the time it was said that the “frequency of flights and range of onward connections” was ensuring the route “remains popular and continues to thrive”. Click here to view full story ….
Local Councils should sell Newcastle Airport stake to save jobs and services
December 7, 2012 Conservative councillors in Northumberland and Newcastle have said the time has come for the North East’s 7 local authorities get out of the airport business and offload their shares. They could then avoid cuts to council services and jobs. The councils between them, including Northumberland and Newcastle, own a 51% stake in Newcastle airport, but have also had to spend £68m to help refinance its debts. In exchange the authorities receive on average just £500,000 a year in dividends, as well as a say over bigger airport issues. The ownership of the airport has been particularly controversial after a former airport chief executive to walk away with a multi-million £ bonus. At the hearing, which the airport lost but is trying to appeal against, a judge made repeated references to the councils’ lack of experience in running an airport. Click here to view full story…
AMP to take 49% stake in Newcastle Airport
27.10.2012 (FT) AMP Capital, a global investment manager with holdings in Melbourne and Launceston airports in Australia, is to buy a 49% stake in Newcastle International Airport. AMP had been up against 3i, the UK-listed private equity group, and French infrastructure investor Antin, but is understood to be paying in the region of £150m, including £65m to pay down the airport’s £298m net debt. Another £68m has been injected by LA7, a consortium of 7 local authorities that hold 51% of the airport, the UK’s 11th biggest. The minority stake was held by Copenhagen Airports, which paid £195m for it in 2001. One aviation specialist said the prospects for growth at Newcastle airport were checked by a relatively low-income catchment area. Click here to view full story ….
Newcastle Airport loses bonus battle with Eversheds
2.10.2012 NEWCASTLE Airport has lost its battle with a city law firm over multi-million-pound bonuses. The airport had claimed Eversheds Solicitors had failed to prevent two executive directors taking higher-than expected bonuses. A spokeswoman for Eversheds said: ““The judgment clearly states that Eversheds acted in good faith on the basis of instructions which it was entitled to accept. Furthermore it adds that the real reason Newcastle Airport suffered loss was because its non-executive directors failed to carry out their obligations to the company.“ Newcastle Airport International Ltd are suing Eversheds over bonuses awarded to former chief executive John Parkin and his then finance chief Lars Friis for securing a £377m mortgage deal linked to a re-financing package with the Bank of Scotland. Initially Mr Parkin was paid £6m and Mr Friis £2.5m, but the pay-outs were reduced later in an out-of-court settlement. At the heart of the dispute are the two contracts that underpinned the deal, which resulted in the duo receiving bonuses totalling 3% of £162m. Article …
Debt fears by North Tyneside Council mean no loan for Newcastle Airport
July 21, 2012 North Tyneside Council have opted not to follow the region’s other local authorities in making a loan to Newcastle Airport, which is the North East’s biggest airport. The airport needs to refinance its near £300m debt. Seven local authorities in the North East own 51% of the shares in the airport and 3 of them have agreed the size of their contributions. But North Tyneside has said it is not willing to incur additional debt at a time when local authorities are being asked to make huge budget cuts. The other 6 will have to make higher contributions and hope they will get higher pay-outs in due course, if the airport gets back into being profitable. The other 49% is owned by Copenhagen Airports, which is looking to sell its stake. Annual passenger numbers using Newcastle Airport in 2011 were 4.3 million, compared to 5.6 million at their peak in 2007. Click here to view full story…
Government orders research into regional rate for air passenger duty
June 20, 2012 Chloe Smith, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, has said – at a meeting with the Sedgefield MP and Newcastle airport and Durham Tees Valley airport – that the Government has commissioned research into varying APD on a regional basis. The research, planned to be published this summer, will consider the potential impact of a regional APD rate as well as devolving the power to set the tax north of the border to the Scottish Government. There has been a campaign in the region, by the Journal newspaper, to get APD changed, claiming it has adverse economic consequences. Newcastle Airport wants APD to be charged at a higher rate at the biggest, most congested airports (south east), and a lower rate from uncongested regional airports. Click here to view full story…
Firms reap rewards from Newcastle to Dubai air link
Newcastle Airport: Private firm to sell 49% stake
May 31, 2012 Copenhagen Airports is selling off its 49% stake in Newcastle Airport, but the seven local councils (LA7) which own the rest say their share is not for sale. These are Durham County, Gateshead, Newcastle, Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and Sunderland Councils . Copenhagen’s Australian backers are pulling out of foreign airports and Newcastle is the last one it has a share in. They have owned part of it for 11 years. The leader of the LA7 group said “The airport is a major asset for the region, employing 3,000 people, and generating hundreds of millions of pounds for the North East every year.” The airport has started trying to refinancing it debts. It has until December 2013 to repay a £320m loan taken out in 2006. It had 4.3 million passengers in 2011 compared to 5.6 million in 2007. Click here to view full story…
Newcastle Airport chiefs hail strong performance – despite £300 million debt and heavy repayments
20.7.2011 NEWCASTLE Airport has said it “weathered the storm very well” last year, although it is still facing heavy interest payments on its £300m debt. The airport announced its performance for 2010 “compared favourably” with other regional airports, while its financial results have “remained comparatively strong”. It said passenger numbers had dropped from 4.6 million to 4.4 million in 2010, while pre-tax losses increased from £4.1m to £4.8m. Its operating profit was £16.1m compared to £17.1m in 2009. But the airport had to make £19.5m in interest payments on its debts in both 2009 and 2010. The loan behind those debts has caused controversy in recent months, with one MP calling for an inquiry into the arrangements behind it. http://www.nebusiness.co.uk/business-news/latest-business-news/2011/07/20/newcastle-airport-chiefs-hail-strong-performance-51140-29085874/
Newcastle Airport expands in £3.2m investment with extension to the terminal
27th September 2011 Plans have been unveiled for a £3.2m investment to extend the airport for the first time since 2004. The terminal will have a 5,000sq ft annex which will house the new security checks, cutting the time passengers spend queuing. Work may start in October, in phases, with the project scheduled for completion in spring 2012. The extension comes after work to refurbish the departure gates. The airport hopes the work will increase international trade links. Click here to view full story…
Newcastle Airport bosses in Big Apple link talks
23rd August 2011 Airport bosses will fly out to the USA next month for fresh talks on the possibility of securing a direct service to New York. They believe they can get a scheduled transatlantic service from Newcastle after the success of Emirates’ daily service to Dubai. Talks with an unnamed American airline are scheduled. The chief executive remains optimistic despite the recent decision by Continental Airlines to axe its service from Bristol to New York. Click here to view full story…
Bosses silent over Newcastle Airport sale claims
19th April 2011 Airport bosses remained tight-lipped amid speculation that the whole of the site could be put up for sale. Copenhagen Airports, which owns 49% of the airport, has put its stake on the market following a decision by Macquarie Bank to withdraw. Councils denied that the other 51% was also up for sale. Without a new equity investor putting cash into the business councils may have to sell their own stake. They may also have to pay a great deal of money. Click here to view full story…
Rising debt forces Newcastle airport sale
17th April 2011 Newcastle airport has been put up for sale as the local authorities that control it look to reduce ballooning debts, according to the Sunday Times. The seven local authorities, which own a 51% stake in the airport, have appointed KPMG to advise them before debt repayments are due. A £320 million repayment is due in December 2013 on a loan the airport took on in 2006. Copenhagen airports, which owns the remaining 49%, is also keen to sell. Click here to view full story…
Newcastle Airport private jet business booms
Newcastle gains another KLM Amsterdam daily flight – making 5 per day
Newcastle: MP demands probe of secret £377m airport deal
20th December 2010 An airport re-financing deal, which could leave North East taxpayers with a debt worth hundreds of millions of pounds, has been revealed. Two former executive directors at Newcastle airport, partly-owned by the region’s 7 local authorities, were each paid millions for securing a £377m mortgage as part of a refinancing deal with the Royal Bank of Scotland in 2006. Up to £83m was shared between all 7 local authorities due to the refinancing deal. (Journal) Click here to view full story…
Business passengers return to Newcastle Airport
07.12.10 An airline using Newcastle Airport believes business travel in the region could return to pre-recession highs by the end of the year. Following a fall-off in corporate passengers last year Lufthansa, one of the main business airlines from Newcastle Airport, says it will be back to 2008 levels of business by the new year. Lufthansa said year-on-year performance is up 27%. The year-on-year performance for October alone saw an increase of 65%. The improvements followed a 17% downturn in passenger numbers for 2009, compared with 2008. UK Airport News Link
Revealed: Newcastle Airport scandal that could cost taxpayers millions
28th November 2010 North East taxpayers could bear the brunt of a huge debt worth hundreds of millions of ££s after 2 airport bosses were paid high bonuses for just taking out a loan. Newcastle Airport, which is partly-owned by the region’s 7 councils, had agreed a £377m mortgage as part of a refinancing deal with the Royal Bank of Scotland in 2006. Two directorsiis, had it written into their contracts that they received a % of the loan as a bonus. (Journal) Click here to view full story…
Newcastle airport resolves wind farm radar threat
19th November 2010 Newcastle Airport is set to announce it has invested in new technology which will allow for growth in the number of wind turbine sites in the North East. A modification to radar displays will essentially block-out a number of new wind farms on air traffic control screens. The breakthrough represents the end of a 6-year stand-off when the airport was unable to sanction any new large-scale wind farms for safety reasons. Click here to view full story…
Newcastle Airport reveal top destinations
20th July 2009 Newcastle Airport has revealed the top 10 destinations for people flying out of the city – Spanish holiday destinations dominating the charts. The top 3 destinations are all in Spain, which has 6 destinations in the top 10. Every week this summer around 115,000 passengers will travel to or from 80 destinations, accounting for 200 departures and arrivals every day. Palma, Malaga and Alicante make up the top 3 slots. (UK Airport News) Click here to view full story…
Newcastle Airport Noise Action Plan consultation launched:
No compensation over Newcastle Airport noise
5th July 2009 Levels of noise pollution caused by Newcastle airport are revealed for the first time. Hundreds of people living nearby are caused “significant annoyance” by aircraft flying in and out of the region on a daily basis. But none of them are entitled to compensation or special insulation in their homes because the noise levels are not quite high enough for them to qualify. The airport has prepared its first ever Noise Action Plan, for public consultation. (Journal) Click here to view full story…
Emirate’s growth from Newcastle “will defy recession”
30th June 2009 Emirates is defying the widespread downturn in the aviation sector to see significant year-on-year growth in passenger and cargo levels on its flights from the North-East. The Dubai-based carrier, which launched its daily service from Newcastle to the Middle East in September 2007, has recently carried its 250,000th passenger between the two destinations, as well as its three millionth ton of cargo. Onward trade from Dubai is growing. (Northern Echo) Click here to view full story…
24.06.09 Mass protest over ‘unsafe’ plane
13.06.09 Pilot error in Newcastle Airport crash
11.06.09 Newcastle Airport boss calls on Government to axe air tax
26.04.09 easyJet cancel Newcastle – Prague flights
28.03.09 Former Newcastle Airport boss received £2m payoff
10.03.09 Lufthansa passengers up 78% at Newcastle Airport
02.03.09 Newcastle Airport runway resurfacing complete
Transport bosses back “Think North East First” campaign
25th February 2009 The Journal has launched a campaign to promote the north east. They are calling on people to support local businesses of all sizes in a bid to help the region through the global financial crisis. The NewcastleGateshead Initiative chief executive said: “We want to encourage our local population to invite relatives from other parts of the country, like Bristol and London, to fly up and visit our region to take advantage of what we have to offer.” (Journal) Click here to view full story…
Expansion plans for Newcastle airport
20th January 2009 Labour, Tory and Independent councillors in South Tyneside have voiced their support for a plea for the airport, which moved 5.6m passengers last year, to be expanded. This comes after “Flying Matters” said both Newcastle and Durham Tees Valley airports should be extended to safeguard the region’s jobs. Seven local authorities have a stake in the airport, and South Tyneside Council is the lead authority among them in its management. (Shields Gazette) Click here to view full story…
24.10.08 Former Newcastle Airport boss ‘settles for £2m’
24.10.08 Flybe boosts Gatwick – Newcastle route
22.10.08 Ex-Newcastle Airport boss agrees out of court compensation deal
19.10.08 Brussels Airlines and bmi codeshare deal
13.10.08 Eastern most punctual at Birmingham and Newcastle
09.10.08 Big drop in passengers at Newcastle and Durham Tees Valley
03.10.08 Jet2 announce new routes from Newcastle and Manchester
02.10.08 Newcastle Airport and ex-boss £6m court battle
29.09.08 Laser pranksters ‘risk killing hundreds’
25.09.08 Ryanair announce Shannon – Newcastle flights
23.09.08 Emirates cuts fares on oil price drops
20.09.08 Newcastle Airport metro back in use
15.09.08 Newcastle Airport near miss
09.09.08 Metro suspended at Newcastle Airport due to floods
07.09.08 Jet2 announce Newcastle – Split flights
03.09.08 Emirates to upgrade planes on Newcastle Airport route
15.7.2008 New Jobs On Offer In Newcastle Airport Expansion Plans
30.06.08 easyJet launch winter flights from four UK airports
26.06.08 Newcastle and Durham Tees freight companies merge
20.06.08 Aer Lingus to reintroduce Dublin – Newcastle flights
06.06.08 Emirates Newcastle Airport milestone
All articles in reverse date order