Newcastle Airport has had its wings clipped quite considerably this month. It has faced a sad and shocking blow, but one very much in keeping with the sadness a recession brings. Plans were drawn up and ogled over by everyone at the airport and in the surrounding area for a brand new 360-metre runway to be constructed at the site to the north west of the city. These plans are now finding their way into a nearby drawer though and are officially being considered merely, “useful documents”.
Hope for the expansion of the airport couldn’t have come at a worse time, as the number of annual passengers fell by over 600,000 in 2008 to a figure of just 5 million. This might seem like an acceptable number, but with the rising costs of everything from electricity to heating, the airport was struggling to generate more revenue. Newcastle Airport simply can’t afford to expand now and it told MPs in government this month that plans have been temporarily put on hold.
The aviation industry has been suffering a great deal in recent years. If it’s not the recession biting at its heels, such as in this case, then the environmental groups are a constant thorn in their side. Even though BA have announced they will keep their flights from Heathrow to Newcastle, there is now strong Westminster support for a new high-speed rail link between the capital and the north east, which might make life even more stressful for Newcastle airport.