Exciting times ahead for Newcastle Airport

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. Continue reading…

Jet2 unveils ‘recession busting’ breaks

is continuing to expand its operations in the UK this week, by releasing five new routes for sale at Newcastle Airport. The “recession busting breaks”, to quote the carrier’s official website, will take off in summer 2012.

Ian Doubtfire, director at Jet2, must be tired of hearing the sound of his own voice. The airline boss has provided commentary for almost all of Jet2’s recent press releases, which number fifteen for the month of June. Mr. Doubtfire, once again, was on hand to talk about Jet2’s expansion at Newcastle, noting that travellers who wished to escape the “hype surrounding Euro 2012” would find a holiday to suit their tastes at the Woolsington hub. Continue reading…

Ash cloud swept away from UK

Grimsvotn, a volcano in southeast Iceland, is the second volcano in as many years to create chaos in the European aviation industry, following on from the antics of Eyjafjallajokull in 2010. Grimsvotn, believed to be the most active of all the volcanoes in Iceland, caused more than 500 flight cancellations in Germany, Scotland, and Northern England, between May 23 and 25 2011. Continue reading…

Newcastle Airport could be sold

Newcastle Airport faces an uncertain future, after a national newspaper revealed that the hub’s majority shareholders are desperate to sell their stake in the Woolsington hub.

Ownership of Newcastle Airport is split between two companies, namely, LA7, with 51%, and Copenhagen Airport, with 49%. The former is a consortium of seven local authorities in the northeast, including the councils of Newcastle, Gateshead, and Sunderland, while the latter is, as its name suggests, a Danish airport. Continue reading…

Newcastle recycles 82% of its waste

The largest airport in the northeast, Newcastle, is taking steps to become one of the most eco-friendly businesses in the country. The Woolsington-based hub boosted recycling to 82% in 2010, according to news agency, Reuters, and achieved the coveted Carbon Trust Standard Award, an accolade that rewards companies who reduce their carbon footprint. Continue reading…

Norwegian airline aims to please

Norwegian airline, Wideroe, has announced plans to increase flight capacity on routes from Newcastle International to the third largest city in Norway, Stavanger. From March 31 2011, the veteran carrier will add an extra flight between the two airports, increasing the service to a total of four per week, and introduce a new Bombardier Dash aircraft onto the route.

Founded in 1934, Wideroe is the Scandinavian equivalent of the UK’s Air Southwest – a predominantly domestic airline that serves small to mid-sized airports. Norway’s far-flung settlements, such as the frozen archipelago of Longyearbyen, and the port town of Kirkenes, are connected to the Norwegian capital, Oslo, courtesy of Wideroe.

Wideroe, a resident at Newcastle for more than a decade, says that its upcoming expansion in the northeast will double the number of seats available on its Stavanger route, and cut the overall flight time by 25 minutes. The flight holds a unique position in the airline’s schedules being one of just ten routes operated by the airline to travel outside its native Norway.

Sverre Sletten, regional chief at Wideroe, was elated with recent developments. “We’re delighted to be able to bring in these big improvements to our Newcastle service.” Mr. Sletten said that his airline was “confident” that customer demand was high enough to support the capacity boost.

The Newcastle-Stavanger flight currently operates on Mondays, Fridays, and Sundays. However, the March 31 expansion will see an extra daily connection added on Thursdays. Wideroe will also alter the timetable of Monday flights, to give business travellers “a full day at work” before departing for the UK in the evening.

Stavanger, located in south-western Norway, is an archetypical port city, and the banks of central Vaagen Harbour are lined with recreational boats. The settlement is situated close to the Lysefjord, a 26 mile long fjord ringed by huge rocky slopes. The Lysefjord is alleged to be “as deep as the mountains are high”.

Newcastle creates ‘tweeting team’

Newcastle International has joined Southampton and Gatwick airports, in becoming the latest hub to embrace social networks as a means of interacting with regular and prospective customers. The northeast hub has created the @NCLairport Twitter page, and unveiled a mobile-friendly version of its website, allowing visitors to check the status of their flight from anywhere in the UK. The airport’s website says that the new tools are part of a plan to “join up social media tools with customer service operations.” Continue reading…

KLM expands in the Northeast

From March 27 2011, travellers in the northeast of England will benefit from an extra daily flight from Newcastle Airport to Amsterdam Schiphol in the Netherlands, courtesy of Dutch airline KLM. The carrier says that the boost is a “tangible symbol” of KLM’s strength and popularity in the northeast.

KLM, known as Royal Dutch Airlines in the English-speaking world, is the oldest airline on the planet. The blue and white carrier is also one of just nine world airlines founded before 1930 to have kept its original name throughout its life, alongside Australian airline Qantas, founded in 1920, and ex-Soviet carrier Aeroflot.

History lesson aside, Newcastle is one of KLM’s largest bases in the UK, currently offering four daily flights to Amsterdam. The addition of a fifth rotation from March will boost KLM’s capacity on the route by a quarter over summer 2010. Newcastle’s planning director, Graeme Mason, referred to the expansion as a “strong signal of confidence” in the airport.

German airline Lufthansa has also showered praise on the northeast hub, according to Graeme. The director noted that only the December snows had prevented the airport recording year-on-year growth. The hub stands in stark contrast to its neighbour and rival Durham Tees Valley Airport, which has resorted to charging travellers to pass through security in a desperate attempt to survive the winter.

The flight boost at Newcastle will coincide with a general reshuffling of KLM’s schedules at the airport. Flight times on all Newcastle-Amsterdam connections will change at the end of March, with the earliest departure taking off at 06:05. Passengers can choose to return the same day from the Dutch capital at 21:55.

KLM has also pledged to improve the choice of flights available for travellers who want to travel on to Hong Kong and Dubai from Amsterdam.

Fly to paradise in 2011

Newcastle is about as far away from Barbados as you can get. One is an industrial city, famed for its bridges and the frequently unfortunate football team, Newcastle United, while the other is a Caribbean island, the type of haven that British super spies retreat to at the end of a Hollywood blockbuster.

However, Thomson and First Choice have taken steps to bring the two destinations closer together by announcing a new flight from Newcastle International to Grantley Adams Airport on Barbados. The route, which travels direct to the island, will begin in winter 2011, just as the snowfall begins anew in the UK.

Chris Sanders, aviation director at Newcastle Airport, referred to Thomson’s latest addition as “something a bit different,” noting the “excellent prices” available on the idyllic island.

The North East has never had a direct route to Barbados before, but Thomson flights from Newcastle to Cancún in Mexico, and the Dominican Republic in the Greater Antilles, continue to be popular with local travellers.

From Barbados Airport, holidaymakers can choose to join the Thomson Dream cruise ship on its voyage around the Caribbean. The vessel stops at Saint Martin, famed for its unusual airport, Grenada, Antigua and the Barbadian capital, Bridgetown, among others. Thomson claims that the Dream is one of the biggest cruise ships in the world.

Prices for the flight begin at £679 per person for a return journey. Tickets for the Caribbean Treasures and Tropical Delights cruises are priced between £845 and £1,409, and come with an inclusive £100 to spend on board the ship. The cruises typically last for 7-16 days.

Northeast flyers are ‘lowest earners’ – CAA

At the end of October, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) published the results of its annual Air Passenger Survey.

The survey, undertaken every year since 1968, is designed to help aviation barons understand the “characteristics of air travel to and from the United Kingdom,” and details the results of more than 200,000 interviews with outbound UK travellers.

Questions ranged from the duration of holidays and the size of travelling groups, to a person’s annual income. The latest survey also introduced questions on environmental issues, such as carbon offsetting. Continue reading…