Newcastle International Airport is located near Woolsington, about 6 miles north-west of Newcastle city centre. The airport opened on the 26th of July 1935, and was known as Woolsington Aerodrome. After World War 2 it replaced Cramlington Aerodrome as the main airport in Northumberland. In 1991 the Tyne and Wear Metro was extended out to the airport. In 2004, a major 3,000m2 extension to the departure terminal was completed, incorporating shops, cafes and additional waiting areas. An Aviation Academy run by Newcastle College opened in 2009.
Newcastle International Airport is an international airport located near the main area of Newcastle upon Tyne, England, 5 nautical miles (9.3 km; 5.8 mi) north-west of the city centre. In 2016 it was the 11th busiest airport in the United Kingdom and the second busiest in Northern England after Manchester Airport, handling over 4.8 million passengers. Newcastle Airport has a Civil Aviation Authority Public Use Aerodrome Licence (Number P725) that allows flights for the public transport of passengers or for flying instruction.
The airport is owned by seven local authorities (51%) and AMP Capital (49%). The seven local authorities are: City of Newcastle, City of Sunderland, Durham County Council, Gateshead MBC, North Tyneside MBC, Northumberland County Council and South Tyneside MBC. In October 2012 Copenhagen Airport sold its stake in the airport to AMP Capital.
The airport mainly serves the City of Newcastle, the greater Tyneside area, Northumberland and Wearside. The airport competes with the smaller Durham Tees Valley Airport for passengers travelling from and to County Durham and Teesside. Passengers from Cumbria, North Yorkshire and southern Scotland also use the airport, the nearest similar sized airport being Leeds Bradford Airport to the south and the larger Edinburgh and Glasgow airports to the north. In terms of passenger numbers, Newcastle is the second largest airport in the North of England, after Manchester Airport.
The airport was opened on 26 July 1935 as Woolsington Aerodrome by the Secretary of State for Air, Sir Phillip Cunliffe-Lister. Incorporating a clubhouse, hangar, workshops, fuel garage and grass runway, at the time it cost £35,000 to build.
A new runway was built, along with an apron and a new air traffic control tower. These new additions were opened by the Prime Minister, Harold Wilson.
In the 1970s, with passenger figures approaching one million per year, the Airport status was changed to Category B, making it a regional international airport , in the same decade it was re-branded as Newcastle Airport. The 1980s saw further investment in check-in, catering and duty-free shops. In 1991, Airport Metro station opened, connecting the airport with Newcastle city centre using the Tyne & Wear Metro system.
Since the 2000s
In August 2004, an extended and refurbished Departure Terminal was opened. The refurbishment comprised a 3,000 square metre extension which included new shops, cafes and 1,200 new waiting seats.
In 2006, a record 5.4 million passengers used the Airport, according to Civil Aviation Authority figures.
Rapid expansion in passenger traffic has led to increasing commercial utilization of the south-side of the airport, which was previously used for general aviation, and is now used for freight, mail and corporate flights. This is partially due to difficulties obtaining departure and arrival slots for light aircraft traffic, which need to be separated from larger aircraft to protect against wake turbulence. As part of the Airport Master Plan, the south-side area is to be expanded with maintenance facilities including new hangar and apron areas.
In August 2016, United Airlines announced it would discontinue its seasonal route from Newark to Newcastle in 2017, citing economic reasons. Therefore, Newcastle Airport lost one of its two long-haul services. The other long haul routes is currently flown by Emirates to Dubai-International.
In July 2017, it was announced that the Airport would be investing £3 million on a terminal expansion project which is part of overall £20 million improvement plans running from 2016 to 2017. This £20m improvement plan included new a radar system alongside digital signage in the check-in areas and the installation of new flooring.
The £3m plans include to extend the terminal by 4,800sqft and will increase the equipment in the security hall, bringing in improved technology to make it a quicker process. This is due to be constructed over the winter of 2017/2018.
Cargo and Freight facilities
Newcastle Airport Freight Village is located south to the Airport and bases Emirates SkyCargo, FedEx, Servisair Cargo and North East Air Cargo company offices to deal with freight such as mail and cargo to export and import goods to and from Newcastle and across the world. It also houses Freight Forwarding Agents such as; Casper Logistics ltd, Kintetsu World Express, Kuehne & Nagel, Nippon Express, Schenker International, Davis Turner Air Cargo and Universal Forwarding.
In April 2016, Emirates reported that Flown exports have soared to £310m a year since the arrival of the Emirates service from Newcastle to Dubai. The Dubai route contributes some £600m to the economy and has opened unlimited export avenues to North East firms, some of whom have opened offices in the United Arab Emirates.
All cargo operations are based on the southern apron.
Other airport facilities
The Airport is also home to the Newcastle Airport Fire Academy. The Newcastle Aviation Academy is also located within this area. When Gill Airways existed, its head office was in the New Aviation House, on the airport property.
The south side of the Airport also has bases for the Great North Air Ambulance and the NPAS Newcastle Helicopter. They normally have one respective Helicopter based here at a time but are known to rotate their fleet around bases. The area also holds maintenance workshops for the Airport and various other depots for airport ran services like Alpha Catering.
Airport station on the Tyne & Wear Metro is directly connected to the terminal through an indoor walkway. The station is the northern terminus of the green line with frequent direct services to all the main Newcastle and Sunderland stations (approx 20 and 50 minutes respectively).
The Airport is connected to the A1 trunk road by the A696 dual carriageway. A half-hourly bus service links the Airport to the nearby villages of Ponteland and Darras Hall, as well as to the City Centre.