Exciting times lie ahead for Newcastle Airport in this the year of its 80th anniversary: new routes for travellers living in the North-East of England (and indeed the Scottish Borders) and a £14 million investment in the airport’s departure lounge, guaranteeing a pleasurable passenger experience.
On the 23rd of May this year, United Airlines will start operating their Newcastle to New York (Newark) route which will not only give passengers easy access to the Big Apple itself but will also provide an excellent hub for connections to other parts of North America, South America, Central America and the Caribbean. So far onward flights to Florida and Las Vegas have proved particularly popular for passengers booking the new route from Newcastle.
A tad less glamorous, but useful nonetheless is the new Flybe route from Newcastle to Stansted, due to start at the end of March.
From the end of June easyJet will also re-commence their route to Geneva in Switzerland. This service will operate year-round meaning that not only business travellers and summer holiday-makers are catered for but also ski fans.
There are also plenty of other summer routes in the pipeline which will be of interest to those in the area who are looking for somewhere new for their holiday. Those headed to the islands of Greece are spoiled for choice with Santorini, Corfu, Zante and Rhodes on offer from various tour operators.
In addition, the Bulgarian destination of Varna is being introduced by Thomas Cook, whilst easyJet offer Antalya and Split and Jet2.com offer Tunisia, Larnaca and Malta. Thomson’s summer offering is the Croatian destination of Dubrovnik, an interesting city in its own right and also an excellent jumping-off point for seeing more of the country’s mainland and islands. Winter sun-seekers will be delighted to see that Thomsons are adding Hurghada and Larnaca to their schedule.
Work on the £14 million new departure lounge started in 2013 and will be completed this summer. Many of the eating and retail outlets are already open, including The Flying Hippo (a family restaurant), Beer House, Aspire Lounge, Cabin Bar, W H Smith, Travelex, Traveller and the jewellery store Cuba Lily which is already a favourite with those living near its other shops in Durham and Darlington.
The appeal of local businesses is further emphasised in the Cabin (the new wine bar) which serves local ales and food from Tyne Bank Brewery, Dropwell Farm Shop in County Durham and the Northumberland Cheese Company. Bar 11, which is due to open in March, will also have a local flavour with the whole concept of the bar being built around the 11 reasons why the region is the best in the UK.
Other retail outlets for the new departure lounge’s “shopping street” include a new Boots (three times the size of the existing one) and a new Duty Free store.
Newcastle Airport was voted the best large airport by Which? in 2013 and 2014, an accolade which Chief Executive David Laws is rightly proud of. The signs are that things will be even better for the airport this year.