Newcastle Airport has recently bought Samson Aviation Services Ltd for £450,000 as part of the plans for re-developing the area south of the airport. Proposals for the re-vamp include a visitors’ centre with viewing area, a business park, and expansion of the Aviation Academy run by Newcastle College.
Samson Aviation has been operating for 15 years from its 50 acre site and has built up an extremely high reputation in the aviation services sector. Newcastle Airport wants to “build on that success”, according to Dave Laws, the chief executive of the airport, with the intention of transforming Newcastle into “one of the country’s foremost bases for private aircraft owners”. Currently the private terminal is used not only by businessmen but also by the likes of footballer, Michael Owen, and pop stars performing at the city’s Metro Radio Arena.
Newcastle Airport will celebrate its 75th anniversary in two years’ time and it is hoped that the original terminal building, previously owned by Samson, will be restored to its former 1930’s glory. It will be turned into a visitors’ centre with outdoor viewing facilities, something which the airport has been without since 2003.
As with all proposals for the redevelopment of airports, not everyone in the area is happy with the plans. Local residents are concerned that the additional traffic, noise and pollution will have a negative impact on the community and that wildlife will be disturbed. Supporters of the £20 million project are keen, however, to point out that the development is vital for the continuing success of the airport and that some much needed extra parking will be created, along with 1600 jobs for the local community.