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Newcastle Airport

Newcastle International Airport

Airport Code: NCL


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Newcastle Airport started life on the 26th July 1935 - a grass runway, a club house, a hangar, workshops, an ambulance room, a hose for petrol and a garage. Cost - just £35,000.

The first scheduled service calling here flew between Croydon and Perth, Scotland, operated by North Eastern Airways using Rapide and 8-seater Airspeed Envoy aircraft.

Early Growth

In 1952 Jim Denyer was appointed as the first Airport Manager. His number-one aim was to put Newcastle on the map. In that year Hunting Air Transport commenced flying to Bovingdon in London. Further routes were soon added - to Northern Ireland, Dublin, Amsterdam and Düsseldorf. By mid-1954 scheduled services totalled some 35 per week.

Then came the 60's and the boom in people heading by air for sunshine holidays. As well as meeting their needs, the Airport was now carving out a major role in encouraging business and development in the North East of England. As a coordinated response to the opportunity, the leading local authorities in the region came together in April 1963 to form the North East Regional Airport Committee.

They quickly appointed a firm of consulting engineers to advise on development requirements. Some 18 months later construction work began. The North East now had a modern airport constructed to international standards and capable of catering for both scheduled and charter services. A new runway and apron was developed, regraded, strengthened and extended to its present length of 2332 metres.

Expansion

Within 6 years, passenger figures doubled to 700,000 per year. By the mid 70's the Airport terminal was again bulging at the seams and more and more people were trying to squeeze their way through a building now too small. The first jumbo jet arriving at the Airport, bringing a party from America, signalled Newcastle Airport's potential to play in the intercontinental league.

In 1978, the Government, in its White Paper on Airports Policy, designated Newcastle Airport as a Category B regional airport. The extension plans were immediately put into action and building work began in July 1980.

By 1984 passengers passing through Newcastle Airport topped 1.24 million. In the year Jim Denyer retired, 1989, 1.6 million passengers passed through the Airport - an impressive legacy for his successor, Trevor Went, only the second Managing Director of Newcastle Airport.

Although 1991 was, in general terms, the worst in aviation history, passenger figures at Newcastle Airport reached a record-breaking 1.67m by the end of the financial year.

The 1992/3 financial year was another record-breaking one for the Airport Company with a turnover of £25.6m and a gross profit before tax of £7.597m. Based on turnover, the company ranked as 117th largest in the region, whilst based on profit it ranked 39th.

Such success required an additional 2400 surface-level car-parking spaces and the extended and improved terminal building which was opened on the 26th May 1994 by the Princess Royal.

Passenger numbers continued to grow and in October 2000 a major extension to the terminal was officially opened by Tony Blair, the then Prime Minister. On 4th May 2001 a further major step for the development of Newcastle Airport was taken by the 7 local authority shareholders when 49% of the shares in the Airport Company were sold to Copenhagen Airport, thus ensuring a truly international Newcastle Airport.


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