Dear Party Leaders
English airports make valuable contributions to the regions we serve, providing vital connectivity for local economies, supporting jobs, driving inward investment and promoting inbound tourism. We operate in an international market, competing for aircraft to serve routes with other airports across Europe. Air Passenger Duty (APD) puts us at a significant disadvantage versus non-UK airports.
Continued calls for devolution of APD to both Scotland and Wales risk distorting the UK-wide level playing field on which we currently operate, jeopardising up to £1.2 billion in GVA and over 2,500 jobs in the North East and South West of England alone over the next decade according to economic impact assessments carried out by air transport consultants, York Aviation.
In his comments from Downing Street on the morning after the Scottish Referendum, the Prime Minister stated his wish to see a balanced settlement “fair to people in Scotland and importantly to everyone in England, Wales and Northern Ireland as well”. Our research shows that if APD were devolved, this balanced settlement would not be achieved.
Advocates for devolving APD point to the economic benefits it could deliver, but neglect to mention that these would come largely at the expense of neighbouring regions in England. The combination of an intensely competitive airport sector and the porous land borders of the UK would result in a significant redistribution of traffic between airports, but with no net benefit to passengers or UK plc. The argument that tax competition will lead to reduced APD for all in the long term ignores the damage which would be inflicted on the regional economies of England in the interim.
The devolution of the long-haul rate of APD to Northern Ireland is sometimes cited as a precedent. However, the Northern Ireland example recognised the unique circumstances in play there, with a shared land border with the Republic of Ireland – where aviation tax was significantly lower than the UK and has now been abolished. That said, short-haul APD still applies to flights from Northern Ireland, and there are still 1.1 million passengers from Northern Ireland flying from Dublin Airport to avoid this.
Such a redistribution of passengers across borders in mainland Britain would result in reduced tax revenues to HM Treasury, with the loss having to be made good from other tax revenue sources. A substantial reduction in the block grant to the devolved administrations would also be required in order to comply with EU rules – a point recognised by Northern Ireland’s Finance Minister when considering further devolution of APD.
For these reasons, we urge all parties to recognise the potentially damaging impact on airports in England, and the regional economies they serve, by ruling out the devolution of APD to Scotland and Wales. APD is a tax that should be reformed via UK-wide abolition, reduction or via measures to encourage all regional airports to flourish, not by opening up market distortions between constituent parts of the UK.
Chief Executive Officer
Newcastle International Airport
Chief Executive Officer
Chief Executive Officer
Flybe, Europe’s largest regional airline, today announced it will start operations at London Stansted Airport with effect from 15th March 2015. This will feature year-round services to the Isle of Man (up to three flights a day) and double daily flights to Newcastle, together with seasonal part week summer flights to Newquay.
Paul Simmons, Flybe’s Chief Commercial Officer, said: "We are pleased to launch three new routes to/ from London Stansted. Bolstering regional connectivity is our number one aim at Flybe and we’re always looking for ways to improve connectivity within the UK. We’re really thrilled to be able to bring a year-round offer to Stansted Airport and look forward to welcoming passengers from the Isle of Man, Newcastle and Newquay who are seeking easy access to Hertfordshire, Essex and London."
Chris Sanders, Aviation Development Director at Newcastle International Airport, said: “We are delighted that Flybe have announced a new twice daily service from Newcastle to London Stansted. This restores an important route for the region and one we know will be very popular with our passengers.
“The importance of good regional connectivity for the North East cannot be understated. Flybe’s new service will lead to significantly easier and quicker journeys to the area around Stansted which includes parts of Norfolk and Hertfordshire as well as all of Suffolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire. There is the added bonus that Stansted is well connected to Greater London by excellent rail and by coach links.
“This is really excellent news from Flybe following their recent re-commencement of daily flights to Exeter and clearly demonstrates their strong commitment to regional connectivity.”
Welcoming today’s announcement, Stansted Airport’s Managing Director, Andrew Harrison said: “Today’s announcement is not only great news for our passengers but is a significant step forward on our ambition to transform Stansted and provide a richer mix of flight connections for the region we serve. When MAG acquired Stansted we set a clear ambition to transform the airport and the arrival of Flybe onto the departure boards for the first time in the airport’s history, and launch of these new direct services to Newcastle, the Isle of Man and Newquay, is another significant milestone in achieving that ambition.
“There is great support from across the business community to see Stansted grow, attract more airlines, offer a broader range of destinations and increased flight frequencies to provide the choice and connectivity that business passengers rely upon to compete and win more business.
“These new services deliver that for the business communities we serve and will also be very popular additions to the route network for leisure connections. We’re looking forward to giving Flybe our full support as they prepare to launch these new connections from Stansted.”
One way fares from £29.99 including taxes and charges are available for booking at www.flybe.com.
easyJet, Newcastle’s largest airline, has today announced that it will operate year-round flights from Newcastle to Geneva. The airline currently offers a winter service which means that passengers in Newcastle can benefit from direct access to Geneva’s world-class skiing resorts, but now the year-round service means they can experience all that Geneva has to offer.
The extension will also mean that easyJet will provide Newcastle’s only direct scheduled service to Geneva during the summer months. More than 17,000 seats will be available on the route at www.easyjet.com from 1 June to 6 September 2015 alone.
Ali Gayward, easyJet’s UK Commercial Manager, commented: “We’re delighted to be extending our Geneva route to a year-round service from today.
“We’ve been flying to Geneva from Newcastle since December 2004, and have seen a huge demand from our passengers wanting to travel there throughout the year as Geneva is an increasingly popular city break destination. As a result of this feedback, skiers, and city breakers alike will now be able to book flights to Geneva 12 months of the year from just £19.99*.”
The year-round flights will go on sale today, Thursday 6 November, flying up to four times a week on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays from 1 June 2015. Winter ski-flights operate as usual this winter.
Chris Sanders, Aviation Development Director at Newcastle International Airport, said: “We’re delighted to be working with easyJet to launch this new year-round service to Geneva. We’re sure the destination will be popular with both the business and leisure market. Keen hikers and holiday makers will relish the chance to explore Switzerland’s fabulous mountains during the summer. Geneva is a fantastic city break destination but also acts as a gateway to the whole of Switzerland. Travel around Switzerland by train is very easy, especially with a Swiss Rail Pass, so this route will help North East travellers explore new sights and experiences. We also expect to see some inbound traffic seeking to enjoy all the North East has to offer.”
Geneva is renowned for its breathtaking views alongside Lake Geneva, and travellers can take advantage of its cultural offerings, including a wealth of cosmopolitan and traditional restaurants, art shops and old narrow streets with concealed courtyards. It is also one of Europe’s most popular destinations for ski and snowboarders, with several ski resorts just a short drive from the airport.
easyJet now flies to 14 destinations across Europe from Newcastle International Airport, with a wide range of sun, ski and city locations to choose from. Passengers can take advantage of easyJet’s low fares at www.easyjet.com.
*Fares one-way, based on two people travelling on the same booking
Following the arrival earlier this year of two brand new Thomas Cook Airlines Airbus A321 aircraft at Newcastle International Airport, and a successful summer season that saw the airlines’ schedule include daily flying to Dalaman, customers can now enjoy wintersun in Hurghada, Egypt, courtesy of the new Thomas Cook Airlines route that launched today.
Christoph Debus, CEO Thomas Cook Airlines said, “After a great summer season at Newcastle Airport, which uniquely saw two of our brand new aircraft based together, we’re pleased to see the winter season begin with our new route on one of our new aircraft.
“Newcastle Airport is a fantastic partner for our airline, and it’s great news that holidaymakers from across the North East will be able to travel to this popular winter destination and look ahead to even more routes next summer.”
Leon McQuaid, Aviation Development Manager at Newcastle Airport, said, “It’s great news for the North East that Thomas Cook has now introduced Hurghada into their program, operating the service weekly on one of their brand new state-of-the-art A321s. We believe this service will be especially popular for leisure travellers who want to enjoy guaranteed sunshine and world-class diving in the spectacular Red Sea.
“It’s great to see more choice on offer from Newcastle Airport and for summer 2015 passengers can look forward to even more choice with the introduction of new routes from Thomas Cook to Santorini and Varna.”
This summer, the two Newcastle-based aircraft, in Thomas Cook airline’s new Sunny Heart livery, took hundreds of holidaymakers to destinations across Europe and North Africa. New Thomas Cook routes from Newcastle for next summer to Santorini and Varna (Bulgaria) have recently been announced and, along with an additional flight to Enfida, flight only offers and holidays are on sale now.
Thomas Cook Airlines has introduced a total of six new A321 aircraft across its UK fleet this year. The airline serves 24 destinations from Newcastle International Airport, with over 200,000 passengers each year flying with the airline.
As well as calling into any of Thomas Cook, Co-operative Travel or independent travel stores in the Newcastle area, Thomas Cook Airlines’ flight-only offers are available at www.thomascookairlines.com. Thomas Cook holidays available at www.thomascook.com, or by calling 0844 412 5970.
With the seasonal chill starting to set in, why not wave winter goodbye and grab some last minute welcome sun in the Canary Islands with Jet2holidays – you’ll be back tanned, refreshed and ready for the party season!
With a wide range of great value packages on offer, now’s a great time to book your escape to the popular hotspots of Gran Canaria and Lanzarote, where average temperatures for the month of December regularly reach 21°C. And with seven night breaks starting at only £229 per person there’s no better excuse to sneak off for some sun!
To browse and book your perfect package break visit www.Jet2holidays.com or call 0800 408 0778.
Example Jet2holidays packages from Newcastle Airport to the Canary Islands:
Lanzarote: 7 nights, 4 star Iberostar Papagayo, half board, departing from Newcastle on 11th December 2014.
Price: £418 per person, based on 2 adults sharing including transfers and 22kg baggage allowance.
Gran Canaria: 7 nights, 3 star Riosol Hotel, self-catering, departing from Newcastle on 7th December 2014.
Price: £229 per person, based on 2 adults sharing including transfers and 22kg baggage allowance.
United Airlines will introduce nonstop flights between Newcastle and its New York hub, Newark Liberty International Airport, during the period May 23 to Sep. 7, 2015 (both dates westbound), subject to government approval. The frequency of the service will be five times weekly. It will be Newcastle’s first scheduled nonstop trans-Atlantic service.
Flight UA159 will depart Newcastle daily except Wednesday and Thursday at 9:10 a.m., arriving at New York/Newark at 12:00 p.m. the same day. The return flight, UA160, will depart New York/Newark daily except Tuesday and Wednesday at 7:20 p.m., arriving in Newcastle at 7:30 a.m. the following day (all times local). Flight times will be seven hours 50 minutes westbound and seven hours 10 minutes 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.
“We’re very excited about introducing nonstop flights to New York from Newcastle next summer,” said Bob Schumacher, United’s Managing Director Sales – U.K. & Ireland. “We’ll be offering the people of Northeast England easy, convenient travel options not only to New York City but also to destinations throughout the Americas. United already offers trans-Atlantic service from more cities in the U.K. than any other airline and we’ve every reason to be confident that this new service will be a success.”
‘Game-Changing New Route’
David Laws, Chief Executive, Newcastle Airport, said: “For many years, and everywhere I go, people have been stopping me and asking, when is the North East going to get a New York service?
“I have been clear throughout that this is a route that we have been determined to deliver for the region. We have been carefully and quietly working behind the scenes, with our shareholders, to secure what will be another game-changing new route. I am delighted today that we are finally able to make the announcement everyone has been hoping for. United Airlines is the best airline to operate this service. They have an exceptional track record of linking U.K. regions to their New York/Newark hub, where customers can then connect to over one hundred onward destinations.”
Councillor Iain Malcolm, Leader of South Tyneside Council and lead of the LA7 shareholders, commented: “On behalf of the Local Authority shareholders, I am delighted that the collective efforts we have been making have been successful. This new service will be hugely significant, in terms of further enhancing regional connectivity, growing the regional economy, attracting inward investment and encouraging inbound tourism from North America. The Local Authorities and our partner organisations will work hard to make the route a success. We will work with inbound tourism bodies to promote the region to a new audience and we will work with the business community to increase awareness of the connectivity opened up.”
David Rees, Senior AMP representative on the Board of Newcastle Airport, said: “I am delighted, on behalf or AMP Capital, that the airport has secured a service to New York. Newcastle is one of the most successful regional airports in the U.K., and today’s news will cement this position. We look forward to working with the airport and our fellow shareholders to ensure the route is a success and that the airport and the North East reap the benefits for years to come.”
Convenient Connecting Flights
The Newcastle flights have been conveniently timed to connect at New York/Newark with an extensive network of service to destinations throughout the Americas. United operates flights from New York/Newark to more than 300 destinations throughout North, Central and South America and the Caribbean, including more than 100 served nonstop.
United operates the largest hub in the New York City metropolitan area at Newark Liberty International Airport. Located just 25 kilometres from downtown Manhattan, the airport offers the fastest surface transfer journeys to many parts of the city, including the AirTrain service to New York Penn Station in midtown Manhattan, with journey time of less than 30 minutes.
Onboard Products and Services
United BusinessFirst offers a superior business-class service. The BusinessFirst seat reclines 180 degrees into a 6-foot, 4-inch/1.93-m lie-flat bed and features a personal on-demand entertainment system with a 15.4-inch/39-cm touch-screen monitor. BusinessFirst amenities include laptop power, USB ports and a multi-course meal with complimentary wines.
United Economy offers complimentary food, soft drinks, juices, 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/12.7 cm 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 operates up to 17 flights per day from London/Heathrow to six of its U.S. hubs: Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark, San Francisco and Washington, D.C./Dulles. In addition, the airline offers nonstop service from Manchester to New York/Newark and (on a seasonal basis) Washington/Dulles, from Edinburgh to New York/Newark and (on a seasonal basis) Chicago, and from Belfast, Birmingham and Glasgow to New York/Newark. United offers nonstop trans-Atlantic service from more U.K. cities than any other airline.
For more information and to book flights visit united.com or call 0845 6076760.
A daily service to Exeter Airport from Newcastle is set to be reintroduced by Flybe, Europe’s largest regional airline, as its 2014-15 winter schedule gets underway on Sunday 26th October.
It joins existing routes from Newcastle to George Best Belfast City and Southampton offering a choice of up to 64 flights a week with one way fares from £27.99 including taxes and charges.
Paul Simmons, Flybe’s Chief Commercial Officer, comments: “The diversity of our winter network this year is greatly expanded with the new routes we have added. Regional connectivity is Flybe’s mission and, due to public demand, we are pleased to again offer our Newcastle customers daily flights to Exeter.”
Flybe is always looking at ways to provide improved benefits for its customers and the start of the winter schedule also sees the airline welcome Avios on board with a new travel rewards programme, and Spend & Fly, a simpler way to earn flights with Flybe’s credit card. There is also a new secure onsite parking option offered at most of the UK airports from which it operates when making an online booking- and it will always be the closest available possible to the terminal.
Chris Sanders, Aviation Development Director at Newcastle International Airport, said: “We’re delighted that Flybe has reintroduced the Exeter service from Newcastle. The route is important for both leisure and business passengers wishing to visit the South West as well as the city of Exeter itself.
“The South West is home to stunning scenery, beautiful beaches and cultural attractions. Within easy reach you have the Jurassic coastline, Dartmoor, Exmoor, the South and North Devon coasts as well as the whole of Cornwall. There is plenty to do year round and flying there is now so easy. ”
Adds Mr Simmons: “Providing an extensive choice of routes for customers whose travel plans are time-critical is what Flybe is all about. We look forward to welcoming all our Newcastle passengers on board this winter so they can experience for themselves ‘the fastest way from A to Flybe!”
Newcastle International Airport and the Newcastle College Aviation Academy have hosted a visit from the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS).
BIS is the UK government department responsible for driving balanced and sustainable growth. Through its Outreach programme, BIS encourages its employees to spend time with and learn from the people and organisations affected by government policies.
The group of eight members of staff visited the airport to find out more about the wide range of training options on offer across the site. Training takes place at the Newcastle College Aviation Academy located at the airport and at the Newcastle Airport Fire Training Academy, which has over 20 years of experience working with businesses across the UK and beyond. The visitors were also able to experience Newcastle’s state-of-the-art Emirates Air Traffic Control Tower.
The party started the day at Newcastle College where they met with Principal Carole Kitching and Tim Jacklin, Head of the college’s Aviation Academy. They received a tour of the £3.3 million facility, which includes a fully functional Boeing 737 and state of the art workshops featuring industry standard equipment such as hydraulics, landing gear, pneumatics and electronics.
Andy Stephenson, Director of the School of Construction, Engineering and Science at Newcastle College, said: “We very much welcomed the opportunity to host the team from BIS and to demonstrate how our strong partnership with Newcastle International Airport is helping to revitalise the aviation industry in the North East. Developing high quality training and skills is vital to support future growth across the aviation and engineering sectors. Working with employers like the airport, our aim is to provide opportunities for young people to build long term careers and gain the skills that we know employers desperately need.”
BIS staff were then given a tour of the Newcastle Airport Fire Training Academy, which is based at the Airport Fire Station. The academy is a world-class facility delivering training, both practical and classroom based, across a range of sectors. Training equipment includes a 767 aircraft fire simulator, Puma helicopter, helipad, fire screen and oil, gas and marine training facilities.
Peter Snell, General Manager Airside Operations at Newcastle International Airport, said: “We’re delighted that the group from BIS took the time to visit Newcastle International Airport and the Newcastle College Aviation Academy. We work closely in partnership with the college to develop skills in aviation and offer a range of training options for those entering the sector. In addition to our work with the college we also operate the Newcastle Airport Fire Training Academy which offers Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) accredited courses for businesses across the UK – including other airports!
“We are dedicated to providing high quality training across a variety of sectors to ensure the knowledge and skills we have here at Newcastle is shared with learners. Aviation is a unique environment and it’s vital that those working in the sector have access to quality training programmes.”
Sue Houston, OBE, Business Relationship Manager, BIS YHNE, said: “Our Outreach programme visits help us build relationships and enhance our understanding of those whom our policies affect so we understand their specific interests. Ideally, closer and more effective joint working will result and what we learn can be fed in to evidence-based policy-making.
“We have been treated to a unique opportunity to see the collaboration between Newcastle College, through their Aviation Academy, and Newcastle International Airport. My colleagues and I were interested to understand how the college and airport met the business needs of the sector.
“This visit gave us tremendous insight into ways in which the college and Newcastle Airport develop and deliver training together offering students, and potential students from schools, a range of qualifications leading to jobs across the sector. Which other college has a team led by a former Red Arrows pilot, himself a highly skilled trained engineer, and sits within an airport which provides fire and rescue training at an international level? Both facilities make significant contributions to further growth in the regional and national economy. Our day was complete when we visited the airport control tower and went inside a plane used for firefighting training.”
The Newcastle Airport Fire Training Academy offers a wide range of training for local and national businesses and has also helped to train other airports from across the UK and beyond. It offers practical and classroom based learning such as fire training, airside operations, health and safety, first aid and more.
In 2013 the airport also launched Offshore Training Newcastle (OTN), a new partnership with Maersk and Advanced Industrial Solutions (AIS) delivering training for those working, or aspiring to work in the offshore oil and gas sector.
Newcastle College Aviation Academy is a CAA approved training facility providing higher level training and skills for the aviation engineering industry. The academy has around 200 learners studying Aeronautical Engineering from Level 3 to Foundation Degree, developed and validated by the college; and a BSc in Aircraft Engineering, which is delivered in partnership with Kingston University. Thanks to the close working relationship that the college has developed with Newcastle International Airport and many of its operators, work placements and on the job training is incorporated into the higher level courses.
Get into the Christmas spirit this year and embrace the festiveness of one of Europe’s traditional markets. Winter wonderland adventures await with Jet2holidays, with the package holiday expert celebrating its biggest ever choice of magical Christmas Market getaways from Newcastle Airport this December.
Steve Heapy, CEO of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays, said: “We are thrilled to be offering so many festive destinations for our loyal local customers this year. All our trips perfectly timed to make sure travellers really get to maximise their break, with our early flights ensuring people can immerse themselves in the Christmas spirit as soon as they arrive! With limited places available we’re urging customers to book now to avoid disappointment.”
There’s something for everyone at Jet2holidays’ brand new 2014 Christmas market destination, Munich. Enjoy hearty Bavarian food in the traditional beer halls and browse for unique Christmas gifts in one of the 20 markets that cover the heart of the city, including the world famous Christkindlmarkt.
Munich, 3* NH Muenchen Am Ring, 2 nights room only departing from Newcastle on 5th December 2014. Price: £315 per person based on two sharing a double room.
Another new destination for 2014, this stunning city offers truly seasonal inspiration with a vast array of concerts, nativity displays and traditional markets. A visit here is guaranteed to bring out everyone’s inner child with fairytale scenes, animals and the special Christkindl Express!
Vienna, 3* Ramada Encore Vienna City Centre, 2 nights bed & breakfast departing from Newcastle on 28th November 2014. Price: £425 per person based on two sharing a double room.
Beautiful Christmas scenes are also in abundance in Prague’s wonderful Old Town and Wenceslas Squares, where gold glittered Christmas trees cast a glow over fabulous market stalls and magical nativity performances.
Prague, 3* Angelis Hotel, 3 nights bed & breakfast departing from Newcastle on 18th December 2014. Price: £255 per person based on two sharing a double room.
UK airline, Eastern Airways, which operates flights from Newcastle International Airport, has been awarded the prestigious Gold Airline of the Year award by the European Regions Airline Association (ERA) at its widely recognised industry awards ceremony in Barcelona.
The carrier was last night named Europe’s number one regional airline 2014/15 ahead of 51 other airline members at the annual event, which has been held since 1991 to recognise excellence and achievements of Europe’s regional carriers, and also forms part of the ERA’s general assembly.
The airline celebrates its 17th anniversary this year and is Europe’s leading provider of fixed wing air services for the oil and gas industry. It operates over 800 flights a week, has more flights from Aberdeen than any other carrier and previously gained the most prestigious gold award in this industry sector in 2006/7, following consecutive silver awards in 2003/4 and 2004/5.
Richard Lake, chief executive of Eastern Group, said: “It is a great honour to again win the prestigious gold award, which is testament to the efforts and professionalism of every member of the team at Eastern Airways. To be recognised by our peers in the industry is tremendous as regional aviation is one of the most challenging and competitive sectors in the world. We must also thank our customers and trade partners who have continually supported us throughout our many years of operation.”
The judging panel commended Eastern Airways for:
- 16 years of consistent profitability
- Winning further Public Service Obligation (PSO) routes in France
- Extending oil contracts
- Reacting swiftly to changing market conditions and seizing new commercial opportunities to expand its network of scheduled services
- Bringing new investment into the business
With its primary focus on business travel, the airline enhanced its comprehensive UK network this year with the introduction of new services. Further expansion also took place in France after being awarded a four year contract providing domestic flights between Lorient and Lyon. Steady fleet acquisition was required to meet the growth in oil and gas charters and ad-hoc charters, while a new investor was attracted, with Bristow Helicopters Limited making a strategic investment acquiring a 60% interest in the airline, following a strong relationship between the two companies since 1999.
Eastern Airways started services from Newcastle in 2003 and operates a choice of daily scheduled flights to Aberdeen, Birmingham, Cardiff and Stavanger in Norway from Newcastle.
Humberside Airport based Eastern Airways has been operating scheduled flights since 1997 and provides a network of services across 17 airports in the UK, Norway and France using a fleet of 31 regional aircraft.