Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Two Perfect Landings; Airport Picks Up Awards and Plaudits

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Two Perfect Landings; Airport Picks Up Awards and Plaudits

Article excerpt

Byline: Adam Jupp

THE North East's biggest airport has been boosted by two major accolades in the space of 24 hours.

Newcastle International was named the most punctual in the UK for arriving and departing flights by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). It came on the back of the airport being crowned the best in the country at a travel industry awards ceremony in London.

The British Air Transport Association (BATA), whose members include some of the world's leading airlines and tour operators, voted Newcastle International the UK's best airport with up to six million passengers per year.

It beat off competition from East Midlands and Cardiff to win the award. BATA general secretary Roger Wiltshire explained what gave the Tyneside entrant the edge. He said: "Airlines, like most customers, are a demanding bunch. They like their airports to be responsive, commercially-minded and, of course, cost-effective.

"All three airports on the shortlist were seen this way by UK airlines. In the end, Newcastle took the prize for being, in the words of one airline 'a really good partnership airport'."

Chief executive Dave Laws said the triumph was particularly rewarding on the back of a tough year for the aviation industry, with the recession driving down passenger numbers.

He said: "These awards are decided by the travel industry and to be recognised by your business partners says a lot.

"As we come out of the recession, the airport is absolutely vital and when you think we are being told there is no money to upgrade road or rail services, we have got to get behind the airport to ensure the businesses in this region have the connectivity they need."

Alan Clarke, chief executive of regional development agency One North East said: "This is great news for Newcastle International Airport and is an important accolade in terms of its potential to support future new investment from airlines and operators.

"By securing exciting routes such as the Emirates flight to Dubai and beyond, the airport has helped North East England, not only to attract international visitors, but also opening up new trade opportunities for the region's businesses. "The tourism sector is now worth pounds 4bn to the regional economy and the continued success of Newcastle International Airport is making an important contribution to that."

Despite the economic downturn, Newcastle International has this week announced new services being offered to airlines flying in and out of the region.

And carriers have moved to congratulate the airport on its success. Mike Rutter, chief commercial officer of Flybe, said, "Our sincere congratulations to the entire Newcastle Airport team headed by Dave Laws, who is particularly deserving of this award for having consistently led with complete distinction. …

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