After 37 years’ service with Newcastle Airport, ten of them as Chief Executive, Davie Laws has decided to step down from his role as CEO to join AMP Capital as a part-time Senior Adviser in its international airports business.
Nick Jones (Newcastle Airport’s Chief Financial Officer) will be taking over as CEO from 1 May. Nick is well known to the region and joined the business as CFO in June 2015. He was previously CFO at Aesica and prior to that worked for the accounting firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers. An external search for a permanent CEO will commence shortly.
Councillor Iain Malcolm, Leader of South Tyneside Council, the Lead Authority for the LA7 airport consortium, said: “Davie has been an excellent Chief Executive of Newcastle Airport and I would like to thank him for everything he has done for our region during his many years of service. Davie will be missed but he leaves a strong legacy and I look forward to seeing the airport build upon that legacy in the future.”
David Rees, Partner and Head of Asset Management at AMP Capital, said: “Davie has made an outstanding contribution to the airport and the region and I would like to offer him my sincere thanks and appreciation for building such a strong, successful business. I’m looking forward to continuing to work with Davie at AMP Capital.”
James Ramsbotham, Chief Executive of the North East Chamber of Commerce, said: “It was a pleasure working with Davie during his term as President of the Chamber, especially during the 200th Anniversary celebrations. I believe that, by bringing both Emirates and United Airlines to the region, Davie leaves a legacy of success in terms of connectivity and exports. I wish Davie well in his future career.”
Message from David Laws
I wish to advise you that after 37 years’ service with Newcastle Airport, I have decided to step down from my position as Chief Executive with effect from the 30th April 2016.
For some time, I have been in informal discussion with AMP Capital (one of the Airport’s shareholders) about joining them part-time as a Senior Advisor in their international airports business.
I would like to thank each and every one of you for the fantastic effort and support you have given me especially during my time as Chief Executive. I firmly believe that together we have in recent years achieved a lot and ensured that the Airport is seen in the region as one of the biggest success stories and long may that continue.
The decision to move on from the business that I have known and loved all my career has not been easy, but the fact that we achieved so much in 2015 is what made my mind up. You will recall that in 2015 together we ensured that the Airport remained an award winning airport with the Which? award and that was no flash in the pan as we have been voted best Airport for years by different organisations. Some notable highlights include seeing United Airlines commence services to New York and their return in 2016, a new airside departure lounge to be proud of, and the announcement of Ryanair to play a significant role in the future of the Airport. 2015 also saw me recognised as Chief Executive of the Year and whilst this was a personal award, I dedicated it to the team at the Airport on the night and I stand by that. Also, you will recall that I had the honour of leading the North East Chamber of Commerce into their 200th Anniversary celebrations; a fantastic opportunity for me personally and also a great way to finish my two years as President of the Chamber. A truly fantastic year in more ways than one.
There is an old saying that it’s good to sometimes get out at the top!!! I firmly believe that the foundations we have built will only mean one thing and that is for this Airport to reach new heights. As you can imagine I have lots of memories after 37 years from my time as a trainee fireman, right through to my current role as Chief Executive and for the most they are indeed very happy memories for me to reflect on.
Nick Jones (the current CFO) will be taking over as interim Chief Executive from 1st May. Please join me in congratulating Nick and please give him your full support during this period of transition.
Shareholders will shortly be launching an external search to find a permanent replacement.
In the meantime I am around until the end of April, and I look forward to saying goodbye to as many of you as I can. Finally may I wish you all a fantastic future. Please continue to keep this Airport in the region’s limelight for all of the good things you do. I know I am leaving this wonderful Airport in safe hands and I look forward to reading all about its future successes as you take it to new heights!!!!!! So good luck and once again thank you for all your loyalty and support.
Newcastle International Airport has today announced plans to become the official sponsor of one of Durham County Cricket Club’s most iconic stands.
The North East Terrace, often pictured with the idyllic Lumley Castle as a backdrop, will be renamed ‘The Newcastle International Airport Stand’ at Emirates Riverside.
A three-year deal will see Newcastle International’s distinctive logo displayed across the stand along with the name of the airport’s new campaign, ‘Discover the World’, a brand initiative highlighting a range of destinations available from the airport at www.newcastleairport.com/discover.
John Irving, Business Development Director at Newcastle International Airport, said: “We are delighted to continue our relationship with Durham County Cricket Club and look forward to developing our partnership with both the club and supporters.
“The North East Terrace has become somewhat of an iconic sight on both TV and online through the years with the Emirates Riverside providing such a picturesque image during first-class Cricket matches.
“This latest deal offers the perfect platform for us to highlight our new brand, ‘Discover the World’, which showcases all of the great destinations available from Newcastle International, whilst showing our continued support for the county after the success of sponsoring Durham’s t20 shirt for the past three seasons.”
Tom Seymour, Sales Director at Durham County Cricket Club, said: “Newcastle International is one of the region’s key assets and we are delighted to continue what has become a fantastic partnership.
“The Airport and its brand are recognised throughout the North East and we look forward to working closely with them over the duration of the deal.”
Thomas Cook Airlines is set to offer North East holidaymakers even more choice from Newcastle Airport in summer 2017 by adding an exciting brand new route to Almeria, a new service to Paphos and increasing to three weekly flights to Reus.
Costa de Almeria, full of family attractions and beautiful Spanish towns filled with shops, tapas bars and top hotels, is in the southeast of Spain and was the location of a number of Spaghetti Western films including ‘A Fistful of Dollars’, For a Few Dollars More' and 'The Good, the Bad and the Ugly'.
Joining an existing service to Larnaca is the ancient town of Paphos. Located on the south-west coast of Cyprus, Paphos has been a popular destination for many years. Along with glorious sunshine, visitors will find ancient ruins and archaeological sites across the south, while the north is a bustling modern centre.
Holidays in Costa Dorada are within easy reach with the addition of a third weekly service to Reus allowing more choice of holiday durations with 10 & 11 nights now available.
Leon McQuaid, Aviation Development Director at Newcastle International Airport, said: “We are delighted to see these latest additions to Thomas Cook’s summer 17 programme from Newcastle.
“Almeria is a great addition, increasing our Spanish mainland destinations to seven in total and I am sure it will prove to be a popular choice with passengers.
“Paphos has always been a favoured destination with the North East public while the addition of a third flight to Reus brings more choice of holiday durations and further increases the appeal of the Costa Dorada for summer holidays.”
Thomas Cook Airlines' Director of Sales and Planning, Henry Sunley, said: "With our £100 million investment in cabin interiors, 25 new A321s entering our fleet, and James Martin meals on board, we’ve worked with our airport and airline partners to build a really great programme for summer 2017. It meets the changing demands of UK holidaymakers, and ensures that Brits can get great summer sun on a quality airline that puts its customers first.”
Plans to make the North East autism friendly have now really taken flight after Newcastle International Airport signed the Autism Charter.
As part of the nationwide Connect to Autism campaign, all permanent Passenger Assistance airport staff have now been trained by the North East Autism Society (NEAS) to understand autism and how they can better support passengers and family members who have autism while using the airport.
Newcastle International Airport Chief Executive, David Laws, said: “We are delighted to be able to partner with the NEAS to make the small changes that will have a big impact on people with autism. We are hoping that by the summer holidays there will be nothing now stopping families using the airport or having the holidays they deserve.”
To make the airport experience less of a struggle for children and adults with autism, NEAS is working with the Passenger Services team to make sure they know where quiet spaces are within the airport so families can be helped to find a less noisy, less crowded area to wait.
Groundbreaking steps also include the creation of an Airport Autism Passport which, by the summer, will be downloadable from the airport or NEAS website, completed and then brought to the Passenger Assistance Desk on arrival. This well then ensure a ‘fast track’ service for the family, avoiding queues and crowded areas, which can be distressing for people with autism. Families will then also have the choice to board the aeroplane first, or last, as transitioning from one place to another can be a particularly difficult time for people with autism.
NEAS is also working with the Newcastle International Airport team to create a social story about the airport, so people with autism can familiarise themselves with the environment and what they can expect to happen, before they turn up on the day.
John Phillipson, Chief Executive of NEAS and chair of Autism Alliance UK, said: “This will open up a world of possibilities for people with autism. Busy, unfamiliar places can be so off putting that many families will have never even attempted to travel in this way.
“We work tirelessly not just to provide services at a local level but to make sure people with autism can have the full, rich life they deserve. This is another fantastic step in the right direction to make this happen.”
The Autism Charter which was produced by people on the autism spectrum aims to show businesses and organisations how minor adjustments and a better understanding of the condition can help those affected feel welcome.
Funded by the Department of Health, the charter is being delivered by Autism Alliance UK, a network of specialist autism charities which includes the North East Autism Society.
As part of the project, Newcastle International Airport is now one of many organisations in the region signing the Autism Charter, highlighting their commitment to helping people with autism and to work with a local charity, the North East Autism Society (NEAS,) to make the North-east more autism friendly.
Ryanair, Europe’s No.1 airline, today celebrated its inaugural flight from Newcastle to Malaga, which will operate four times weekly as part of the summer and winter schedule. The 2016 Newcastle winter schedule will also include 2 new routes to Lanazrote and Tenerife and more flights to Alicante and Dublin (double daily from June), which will deliver 330,000 customers p.a. and support 250* jobs at Newcastle Airport.
Ryanair’s Newcastle winter 2016 schedule will deliver:
- 2 new routes: Lanzarote (2 weekly) & Tenerife (2 weekly)
- More flights to: Alicante (4 weekly) & Dublin (2 daily)
- 1 new winter service: Malaga (4 weekly)
- 5 routes in total
- 26 weekly flights
- 330,000 customers p.a.
- 250* “on-site” jobs p.a.
Ryanair is the ideal choice for business and leisure customers, who can now choose from 5 Newcastle routes in winter 2016 and look forward to further improvements, under Ryanair’s “Always Getting Better” programme, which includes more routes, a new app, new cabin interiors and new crew uniforms.
Ryanair’s Sales and Marketing Executive, Lisa Buckley said: “We are pleased to launch our Newcastle service to Malaga, with more new routes to come for winter 2016, which include Lanzarote and Tenerife. Our winter schedule also features more flights to Alicante and Dublin, which moves to a double daily service from June, which will deliver 330,000 customers p.a. and support 250 jobs at Newcastle Airport, as we double our Newcastle traffic.
To celebrate the launch of our new Malaga service, we are releasing 100,000 seats for sale across our European network from just £19.99, which are available for booking until Monday (4 Apr). Since these amazing low prices will be snapped up quickly, customers should log onto www.ryanair.com and avoid missing out.”
Newcastle International Airport’s, Business Development Director, John Irving said: “Ryanair’s new service to Malaga increases the choice of flight options between the North East and the Costa del Sol. We expect these flights to be especially popular for those looking for great value year round relaxing escapes to the sun but, with Marbella, Puerto Banus, Estepona, Gibraltar and Seville all within easy reach of Malaga, there is also plenty of choice for things to see and do.”
Newcastle International Airport continued its fundraising efforts with joint charity partners Newcastle United Foundation and Sunderland AFC’s Foundation of Light, as staff completed an indoor cycle challenge.
To highlight the return of United Airlines’ non-stop service to New York and beyond - which returns on Thursday 26th May - 40 staff members got on their bike to help cycle the distance from Newark Liberty International Airport to Washington DC.
Streamed live on periscope, a total of 213 miles was achieved in less than eight hours.
With support from footballers Siem De Jong and Jack Rodwell, the cycle challenge was part of a busy day at Newcastle International as families flew off for their annual Easter getaway.
Over 35,000 passengers are expected to pass through the airport over the bank holiday weekend to popular destinations including the Canary Islands, Dubai, and Orlando.
Mainland Spain continues to be a popular choice and with new airline Vueling offering direct flights to Barcelona and beyond, North East holidaymakers can explore some of Spain’s most idyllic destinations.
David Laws, Chief Executive at Newcastle International Airport, said: “This has been a very upsetting week as a result of the events in Brussels and our thoughts continue to be with all those who have been affected. Today’s fundraising efforts have brought people together in aid of a good cause. We are delighted with the work we do with our charity partners and after raising over £50,000 in our first year, we hope our second will be even better.”
Kate Bradley, Head of Newcastle United Foundation, said: “We really appreciate the huge effort and innovative fundraising that the staff at Newcastle International Airport are undertaking to support our work in the community. Every penny raised will make an invaluable contribution to the programmes we deliver across Newcastle, Northumberland, Gateshead and North Tyneside. We would like to wish everyone taking part the best of luck with the cycle challenge!”
Richard Hopper, Head of Commercial at Foundation of Light: "We're really pleased to get involved in today's challenge that brings together all three partners in this fantastic initiative. Newcastle International Airport has given both Foundations tremendous support over the last year, with many Airport staff taking part in valuable fundraising events like this. Cycling 213 miles is a great team effort and all funds raised will go towards community programmes that will have a real, positive impact upon the lives of so many in our region."
If you would like to add your support to Newcastle International Airport and its charity partners, Newcastle United Foundation and Sunderland AFC’s Foundation of Light, donations for the cycle ride can be made at: http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/team/NewcastleInternational
Vueling Airlines today celebrated the launch of regular flights from Newcastle International Airport to Barcelona and beyond.
The Spanish carrier - which arrived in Newcastle under a traditional water cannon salute - is offering North East holidaymakers the chance to explore some of Spain’s most idyllic destinations.
Not only can you discover the vibrant capital of Catalonia, Vueling’s extensive route network will allow easy access for passengers to connect to onward cities such as Madrid, Seville, Bilbao and more.
Flights in March are scheduled on Thu 24th, Fri 25th, Mon 28th and Tue 29th. From April, the airline will operate regular twice weekly services on a Tuesday and Friday, increasing to three weekly flights from June with the addition of a Sunday service.
The service will also continue through winter 2016/17, with twice weekly flights on a Friday and a Sunday.
Leon McQuaid, Aviation Development Manager at Newcastle International Airport, said: “We are delighted to welcome Vueling Airlines to Newcastle.
“This new service allows extra choice and more opportunity for passengers looking to travel to Barcelona and beyond at affordable fares.
“As well as anticipating further growth in outbound tourism, we expect this service will deliver a significant increase of inbound traffic to the North East.”
Gabriel Schmilovich, Network Planning, Scheduling and Slots Director at Vueling, said: “We are proud to announce the launch of the route from Newcastle to Barcelona, a popular destination among both holidaymakers and business passengers.
“As Barcelona is our main hub, customers from Newcastle will also be able to benefit from Vueling’s connections to the south of Spain, the Balearic Islands, Africa or the Greek Islands.”
Flights depart from Barcelona at 11:10 and from Newcastle at 13:50 and are operated using an Airbus A320 with capacity for 180 passengers.
Vueling, the largest airline operating from Barcelona El Prat Airport and part of the International Airlines Group (IAG), owner of British Airways, Iberia and now Aer Lingus, covers close to 300 routes across more than 130 cities in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, with a fleet of Airbus aircraft.
All flights are now on sale now through vueling.com and travel agents.
From May 26, 2016, travellers from the North East of England will be able to connect to destinations across the United States by taking advantage of United’s seasonal nonstop flights from Newcastle to its New York hub, Newark Liberty International Airport. United operates flights from New York/Newark to over 300 destinations throughout North, Central and South America and the Caribbean, including more than 100 served nonstop.
The airline introduced seasonal service on the Newcastle-New York/Newark route last year.
“We are excited to return to Newcastle this summer,” said Bob Schumacher, United’s Managing Director Sales – U.K. and Ireland. “Our flights offer business and leisure travellers convenient access to New York City as well as connections across the Americas. Through our New York hub, we can connect our customers directly to over 100 great destinations including Chicago, Miami, Las Vegas, San Francisco and Los Angeles.”
Flight UA75 will depart Newcastle daily except Wednesday at 9:10 a.m., arriving at New York/Newark at 11:55 a.m. the same day. The return flight, UA74, will depart New York/Newark daily except Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., arriving in Newcastle at 7:30 a.m. the following day (all times local). Flight times will be seven hours 45 minutes westbound and seven hours eastbound.
The flights will be operated by Boeing 757-200 aircraft with a total of 169 seats – 16 flat-bed seats in United BusinessFirst and 153 in United Economy, including 45 Economy Plus seats with added legroom and increased personal space.
“Preparations are well underway as we await the return of United Airlines and its direct service to New York and beyond. An amazing amount of planning and preparation continues to go on behind the scenes to ensure everything is perfect for our passengers,” said David Laws, Chief Executive, Newcastle Airport. “Connectivity is vital for the region and as well as connecting the North East to New York, United Airlines’ Newark hub provides access to more than 300 destinations right across the Americas to a range of key cities, including Chicago, Boston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Orlando. I continue to call upon everyone in the North East to support the route and make sure that this direct service is the first choice for leisure passengers and businesses alike.”
Onboard Products and Services
United BusinessFirst offers a superior business-class service. The BusinessFirst seat reclines 180 degrees into a 6-foot, 4-inch lie-flat bed and features a personal on-demand entertainment system with a 15.4-inch touch-screen monitor. BusinessFirst amenities include laptop power, USB ports, noise-reduction headsets, amenity kits featuring Soho House’s Cowshed skin-care products, duvet-style blankets and a multi-course meal with complimentary wines.
United Economy offers complimentary food, soft drinks, juices, beer and wine, tea, coffee and inflight entertainment. Seats feature an adjustable headrest and a personal on-demand entertainment system.
United Economy Plus offers up to five inches of extra legroom. Located near the front of the Economy cabin, the seats give the added benefit of allowing a swifter exit from the plane upon arrival.
United offers nonstop trans-Atlantic service from more cities in the U.K. than any other airline. From London/Heathrow, United operates up to 17 flights per day to six of its U.S. hubs: Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark, San Francisco and Washington, D.C./Dulles.
In addition to the Newcastle service, the airline offers nonstop service from Edinburgh to New York/Newark and (on a seasonal basis) Chicago, from Manchester to New York/Newark and (on a seasonal basis) Washington/Dulles, and from Belfast, Birmingham and Glasgow to New York/Newark.
For more information and to book flights visit united.com or call 0845 6076760.
United Airlines and United Express operate an average of nearly 5,000 flights a day to 342 airports across six continents. In 2015, United and United Express operated nearly two million flights carrying 140 million customers. United is proud to have the world's most comprehensive route network, including U.S. mainland hubs in Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. United operates more than 700 mainline aircraft, and this year, the airline anticipates taking delivery of 20 new Boeing aircraft, including 737 NGs, 787s and 777s. The airline is a founding member of Star Alliance, which provides service to 192 countries via 28 member airlines. Approximately 84,000 United employees reside in every U.S. state and in countries around the world. For more information, visit united.com, follow @United on Twitter or connect on Facebook. The common stock of United's parent, United Continental Holdings, Inc., is traded on the NYSE under the symbol UAL.
Newcastle International Airport has today made a number of comments in response to the launch of a consultation by the Scottish Government on reductions, from 2018, in Air Passenger Duty (APD) north of the border. Speaking after the announcement, David Laws, Chief Executive, said:-
“The Scottish Government has now commenced detailed consultations on the reform and reduction of Air Passenger Duty in Scotland. This increasingly firm plan now provides confirmation that the dangers that made it necessary, in 2015, for David Cameron to promise intervention have not subsided. In fact, they have become very real and urgent. We have recently therefore written to the Prime Minister reiterating our concerns.
“We maintain the view that the Government should commit now to matching reductions in Scotland across the whole country. If this is not possible, then our view is that the second of the options in last year’s APD discussion paper - the varying of rates within England - is the most preferable and the least inequitable.
“A failure to act now would break the promise made in 2015 to protect English regional airports. The consequences of unmatched reductions in Scotland would be so serious that ‘do nothing’ continues to be simply not an option.
“We would be surprised if the Government allowed the devolved administrations to drive the policy direction on this important issue. This surely wouldn’t be right for our country as a whole? We therefore call upon the Government to take control of this crucial agenda now, before it is too late.”
During the build up to the 2015 General Election, the Prime Minister made it clear that the government would not allow airports and regions to be adversely impacted by the devolution of APD. During the General Election campaign, he said:-
“The SNP Government in Scotland is committed to using its new powers to cut and eventually abolish Air Passenger Duty from Scottish airports. This could distort competition and see business drawn north of the border with a huge impact on airports in the rest of our country so we’re reviewing the way Air Passenger Duty works to make sure other cities don’t lose out.”
In a separate interview, the Prime Minister said:
“We are not going to accept a situation where there’s unfair tax competition. We will do what’s necessary to make sure England’s regional airports can succeed.”
Speaking about these reassurances, Graeme Mason, Planning and Corporate Affairs Director, said:-
“These comments were very reassuring at the time. We maintain the view, therefore, that the Government should commit now to matching reductions in Scotland across the whole country.
“If this is not possible, then our view is that the second of the options in the APD discussion paper, the varying of rates within England, is the most preferable and the least inequitable. If in order to meet EU legal requirements this must be a system of differential rates based upon level of airport congestion, then we would accept that.
“Such an approach would help ensure, as has been promised, that other English cities don’t lose out and that England’s regional airports can succeed.
“We have been asked whether an alternative approach, a system of APD ‘holidays’ for new air services, would be a possible solution. Our strong view is that such an arrangement would not address the threat that we face, and would in fact make matters even worse by concentrating new routes at larger airports further south.”
More than 80 people are this week celebrating overcoming their phobia of flying after attending easyJet’s Fearless Flyer course in Newcastle over the weekend.
The group of 80 nervous flyers took part in the two-day course, run by phobia expert Lawrence Leyton and senior easyJet pilot Richard Jones, who together explained how an aircraft works, dispelled common flying myths and taught participants a unique set of ‘mind tools’ to manage their fear.
On Sunday participants put the skills they’d learnt to the test and travelled onboard a special easyJet flight, which included a full commentary in the air from Captain Richard Jones.
Lynn Prew from Alnwick, Northumberland, who had never flown before this weekend’s course said:
“What an achievement on Mother’s Day! Having never flown before because of my fears, I can now visit my daughter in Ireland. Many thanks to the easyJet course and a special thanks to all involved.”
Ali Gayward, easyJet’s UK Commercial Manager, said:
“We’re really pleased to have helped so many people overcome their fear of flying this weekend, from those that were slightly nervous of flying to those who had never flown before.
“It is great that our new fearless flyers will now be able to take to the skies happier and more relaxed, and we look forward to welcoming them onboard our flights soon.”
Mark Wein, Director of FOF Events which organise the Fearless Flyer courses, commented:
“It was fantastic to see Lynn and all of our other participants overcome their fear of flying today on our special one hour Experience Flight following the three hour Ground Course on Saturday. As an ex-phobic myself, I know how restricting a fear of flying can be and how liberating it feels to overcome it. Lynn is now off to see her daughter in Ireland and many others were going home to book a holiday.
“We’re holding 9 more courses around the country before the start of the summer holidays including Gatwick and Stansted and demand for spaces this season is higher than ever. So the whole team is really looking forward to changing a record amount of lives this year.”
easyJet’s Fearless Flyer course is one of the best priced aerophobia courses in the UK at just £189 per person. Participants can also invite a friend or family member with them on the flight if they wish for just £69.