Newcastle International airport has the opportunity to attract many more passengers from Cumbria as they plan to expand their flight plans. This follows the Newcastle International Airport’s finished revamp of the departure lounge and now offers direct flights to 74 destinations. In 2014 the airport saw 4% of the overall 4.6 million passengers, originate from Cumbria. In terms of the future, 2016’s passenger numbers are looking to rise to 4.9 million. This is hoping to be supported by the airports new redevelopment with cafes, restaurants, bar areas and new shops.
Newcastle International has just completed a £14m revamp of its departure lounge, and now offers direct flights to 74 destinations including New York and Dubai. The Chief Executive of the airport, Mr David Laws said: “We have a particularly loyal customer base in Carlisle but there is an opportunity to grow it. We need to make people aware of what we have in terms of customer service to make sure your journey gets off to the best possible start. In 2015, 97 per cent of our passengers were through security in under six minutes, and the friendliness of our staff appeals to people.”
New destinations is one reason that the chief executive is looking to attribute the future growth. Mr Laws said: “The New York flights allow people to access onward connections to 300 destinations in the US and Canada.” Furthermore, last year saw United Airlines creating six flights a week to New York, while Emirates has been flying to Dubai since 2007.Talks are currently underway surrounding the addition of routes from Newcastle with Turkish Airlines and the German low-cost carrier Germanwings to selected destinations.
Mr Laws has noticed that access is the main issue for passengers travelling from Cumbria, especially those who use public transport. Attempts to alleviate this problem include new access road from the A69, to open in 2019, which hopefully should improve the journey for commuters.A spokesman said: “Work on the runway and upgrading other airport facilities have yet to be completed, and we’ve never said it would be done by the spring. We can’t give a time frame.” Therefore it looks like the airport may not collect the benefits of their redevelopment any time soon but hopefully is only the start for growth in the future.