Calls for the expansion of Newcastle airport have been given significant cross party support from Labour, Tory, and Independent councillors in the South Tyneside region. The airport currently handles 5.6 million passengers a year but, with predictions that by 2030 the region will be attracting more than a million visitors a year, pleas are currently being made for it to expand.
John Anglin, the Labour councillor, has said that the region needs a first class airport to boost national and international trade which will in turn safeguard jobs for the entire region. He added that it need not be at the expense of the environment and that cleaner fuel and energy options need to be found.
The Conservative councillor, David Potts, said that any expansion must take into account the views of the local population and added that he hoped that a Newcastle to New York route would be introduced as part of the expansion, something which had been mooted previously by American Airlines.
Independent councillor, Ahmed Khan, was equally enthusiastic about the trade benefits that an expansion could bring, citing Manchester airport as proof that a regional airport can become a global hub.
Chairman of the pro-aviation group, Flying Matters, added his support to the expansion plans, saying that once the world comes out of the current recession, only those countries with first class airports and connections would be in a position to benefit from the predicted growth in trade and visitor numbers. He added that without such expansions it will be jobs rather than goods which are being exported from the North East.