THOMSON CELEBRATES FIRST 787 DREAMLINER FLIGHT FROM NEWCASTLE AIRPORT
Thomson Airways today (21 July) celebrated the departure of the first long haul Boeing 787 Dreamliner flight from Newcastle International Airport. Flight TOM 392 took off from Newcastle headed for Orlando Sanford, Florida this morning.
Thomson operated this flight on board its plane Angel of the Sky which was named following a competition that ran in the region last year. The winner, Danielle Moore from Jarrow, was one of 288 customers who travelled on the flight. In addition to this route, Thomson Airways will also fly the Dreamliner on the first non-stop service from Newcastle to Cancun, Mexico.
The Dreamliner has revolutionised air travel and leaves holidaymakers more relaxed and refreshed than ever before, with comfort and wellbeing features on-board reducing the effects of jet-lag. It can also fly much further distances than similar-sized aircraft and is more environmentally friendly, using 20% less fuel.
The Dreamliner also boasts incredible space inside the cabins, with the lowest point inside the plane measuring more than six feet. To showcase this space, Thomson enlisted the help of local ballet dancer Oliver Blake from Sunderland who performed a variety of moves inside the cabin.
Carl Gissing, Director of Customer Service at Thomson Airways comments: “We are delighted to introduce our Dreamliner to Newcastle Airport and are thrilled to be the first airline to operate this incredible aircraft from the North East. The aim has always been to ensure we offer Dreamliner services from different regions across the UK so that customers can experience this aircraft from their doorstep.
“The introduction of the Dreamliner is a major milestone in our journey of modernising the holiday experience. Customers travelling from Newcastle will be amazed at the unique look, feel and service – all of which will ensure the Thomson holiday experience starts as soon as they step on board this fabulous new aircraft.”
Dave Laws, Chief Executive of Newcastle International Airport, said: "The launch of the Thomson 787 Dreamliner is a historic milestone for both Newcastle Airport and the North East region.
"This is an amazing aircraft with the latest technologies on board which will offer our passengers a first-rate service to Florida and Cancun from Newcastle. This launch coincides with the start of the great summer getaway which will see nearly a million passengers travel through the airport over the school holiday period.
"We work very closely with Thomson to offer great products and experiences to North East travellers. I'm sure the Dreamliner will be an extremely popular choice for passengers from Newcastle."
Thomson was the first UK airline to take delivery of the Dreamliner in 2013 and launched the UK’s first ever Dreamliner flight on 8 July 2013, with customers heading from Manchester to Sanford, Florida and from Glasgow to Cancun in Mexico. Since then the fleet has made over 2,500 flights, carrying over 670,000 customers operating from Manchester, Glasgow, Gatwick and East Midlands airports to all of Thomson’s long haul destinations including Jamaica, Phuket in Thailand and, new from this May, Mexico’s Pacific Coast and the stunning Indian Ocean island of Mauritius. The arrival of the Dreamliner has been a big hit with customers with 96% rating their flight as good or excellent.
Thomson will take delivery of a further two aircraft next summer, bringing the fleet to eight. In addition to launching flights from Newcastle today, the Thomson 787 Dreamliner has also taken off for the first time from Birmingham airport this month and will take off from Edinburgh for the first time this week. From this winter, the long haul flying experience will improve further as the in–flight entertainment will be upgraded with an even wider choice of films, updated monthly and, the icing on the cake, drinks will be included free of charge in Economy Club on all long haul flights.
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Christmas comes early today as Jet2.com and Jet2holidays announce TWO exciting Christmas market destinations from Newcastle International Airport. This year, in the run up to the festive season, passengers can enjoy the fairy tale romance of Vienna or, brand new for 2014, the world famous Christkindlmarkt in Munich.
Return flights with the leading leisure airline start at £218.40 per person and ATOL protected Jet2holidays’ festive breaks can be booked now from £315 per person, secured for only a £60 deposit.
Steve Heapy, Chief Executive Officer, Jet2.com and Jet2holidays said: “Our fabulous European Christmas market package breaks are always popular and we’re thrilled to add the magical city of Munich from Newcastle International Airport this year. There’s something for everyone in Munich; enjoy traditional Bavarian food and drink and browse for unique Christmas gifts in the huge market covering the heart of the city. Vienna, a city of nostalgia and romance, offers truly seasonal inspiration with a vast array of concerts, nativity displays and traditional markets.
“All our festive getaways are perfectly timed to allow travellers to really maximise their break, with our early flights ensuring they can immerse themselves in the Christmas spirit as soon as they arrive! With limited places available we’re urging customers to book early to avoid disappointment.”
Chris Sanders, Aviation Development Director at Newcastle International Airport said: “We are delighted Jet2.com and Jet2holidays are offering these pre-Christmas short breaks. The timing is fantastic for those wishing to do some Christmas shopping with a difference, as well as experience these interesting continental cities. A direct flight makes the journey easy and we expect the flights to be very popular.”
NEW Christmas Market packages are:
Vienna – departs on 28th November 2014 from Newcastle Airport. Package breaks are available from £399 per person based on 2 nights in a 3-star hotel on a bed and breakfast basis. Prices include taxes and exclude transfers. Return flight only options start from £310.40 per person including taxes.
Munich – departs on 5th December 2014 from Newcastle Airport. Package breaks are available from £315 per person based on 2 nights in a 3-star hotel on a bed and breakfast basis. Prices include taxes and exclude transfers. Return flight only options start from £218.40 per person including taxes.
Passengers were served a slice of a delicious Madeira cake by leading leisure airline Jet2.com to mark the launch of its exciting new route from Newcastle International Airport.
The introduction of the sun-drenched Portuguese island, Madeira cements Jet2.com’s position as the North East’s biggest holiday airline, offering local customers a whopping 30 European sun, sea and city destinations to choose from. Jet2.com flights to Madeira are available from £75 per person with package holidays available from £369 per person.
Steve Heapy, CEO of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays, said: “We hope the passengers on the inaugural flight enjoy their summer getaways to Madeira. The addition of this holiday hotspot from Newcastle International Airport further demonstrates our ongoing commitment to providing an unrivalled selection of great value flights and holidays for our loyal customers in the region!”
Chris Sanders, Aviation Development Director, said: “The start of this new service to Madeira is great news for North East travellers who will enjoy even more choice from Newcastle Airport. Passengers wishing to escape the unpredictable British weather can enjoy the sunshine on this wonderful island and all it has to offer.”
The inaugural flight to Madeira follows the launch of Jet2.com’s service to Fuerteventura on 24 June.
KLM steps back in time today as its iconic DC3 aircraft arrives at Newcastle International Airport. The DC3 flew in from Amsterdam and is embarking on a tour of the East Coast, with its first stop being Newcastle Airport.
A select group of passengers will experience the golden age of travel in a series of short flights showing a bird’s eye view of the East Coast. Built in 1944, the DC3 is the first ever commercial aircraft and passengers from Newcastle will be travelling in the same style and luxury as passengers in the pioneering age of aviation. Flying the DC3 meant that KLM led the way in modern European aviation, offering customers comfort on board and reliable flights in Europe, the Far East and beyond.
The DC3 aircraft, the Royal KLM Dakota PH-PBA was in service with the 8th Air Force during the Second World War. After the war the aircraft was acquired by his Royal Highness Prince Bernhard, Prince of the Netherlands, and later became the first official aircraft of the Dutch government.
After retirement in 1975 the aircraft became part of the collection of the Aviodrome museum. It was put back in service in 1998 and it has been flying ever since. In 2010 she received her current historic KLM colour scheme and was christened ‘Princes Amalia’, after Prince Bernhard’s great grandchild, the current heiress to the Dutch throne.
This year KLM celebrates its 95th year. KLM was founded in 1919 and merged with Air France in May 2004. Since then, they have formed a major player in the air transport industry. The two airlines operate the leading long-haul network on departure from Europe.
Warner Rootliep, General Manager UK & Ireland Air France KLM said: “We are offering a once in a lifetime opportunity for passengers to experience aviation at its vintage best. The DC3 is such an iconic aircraft and it is a historic moment to welcome it to Newcastle. Our regional bases are incredibly important to KLM and it is fantastic to be able to showcase our heritage to the local community.”
Dave Laws, Chief Executive at Newcastle International Airport, said: “KLM are an important airline partner and we’re delighted to welcome this historic DC3 aircraft to Newcastle Airport. KLM’s operation from Newcastle has grown from strength to strength and reached 300,000 passengers in the last 12 months. We have an excellent relationship with KLM and look forward to further growth in the future.”
After the Newcastle flights the DC3 will continue its tour of the East Coast calling at Durham Tees Valley on June 26, Humberside on June 27 and finally at Norwich on June 28 before she leaves the UK to return to Amsterdam.
For more information on KLM log onto www.klm.com
Airport staff will take on the challenge of an 85-mile walk on the Isle of Man in under 24 hours to raise money for Maggie’s Newcastle.
The 2014 Manx Telecom Parish Walk is a historic walking race which sees enthusiasts and professionals from across the UK visit the Isle of Man to endure a gruelling 85-mile course in just 24 hours.
The famous route takes walkers around each of the island’s parishes from 8am on Saturday 21 June 2014.
Eric Wrightson, 58, from Consett, is General Manager of Park & Fly at the airport and a keen long distance walker. He will be taking part in the event with help from colleague and support driver, John Mason.
The Isle of Man is divided into six ‘sheadings’ which are further divided into seventeen parishes, each with its own parish church. The original Parish Walk involved touching the door at each parish church but this practice has been phased out over time. The event is organised under the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) rules of race walking and attracts thousands of entrants each year.
Eric said: “I’m really looking forward to taking part in the walk. I’ve been training for the last few months with a number of walks across the North East. I’ve been long distance walking for around 10 years or so and I really enjoy it. It keeps me fit and it’s a great opportunity to get out and about and visit some wonderful places.
“I usually try to enter between 5 to 10 official challenge walks each year on varying distances from 20 miles to 50 miles, over different terrains such as moorland or hills. This time around I’m taking on something totally new – a course that will take me 85 miles on a historic route of the Isle of Man. Thousands of people enter but only a few hundred usually finish the full course, let alone finish it in less than 24 hours – I’m hoping to be one of them!
“My colleague John will be my support driver on the route as there are a number of different rules and restrictions in place. The walk attracts long distances walkers, both professional and amateur who, like me, enjoy the challenge!”
Citywing, which operates a service to the Isle of Man from Newcastle International Airport four times a week, supported the team by providing their flights to and from the event. Car Hire Company Avis is also providing a support car.
Eric added: “A huge thank you goes to Newcastle International Airport, Citywing and Avis for supporting this charity activity.”
David Buck, Managing Director of Citywing, said: “We’d like to wish Eric and John all the best for the Parish Walk 2014. The walk attracts thousands of entrants each year and guides visitors through some of the spectacular scenery on offer here on the Isle of Man. We’re famous for our stunning scenery and challenging walks and I’m sure they will both enjoy their visit tremendously.”
The pair will raise money for the airport’s adopted charity Maggie’s Newcastle by taking part in the challenge. Maggie’s, which has a cancer centre at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle, offers free support and activities for those dealing with cancer and their loved ones.
Kelly Knighting-Wykes, Centre Fundraising Manager North East for Maggie’s, said: “Without support from companies like Newcastle International Airport and its staff, we couldn’t provide our much needed services to people living with cancer in the North East. Eric’s fundraising is fantastic and we really appreciate him taking on this huge challenge for Maggie’s Newcastle. This support will make a huge difference to what we can continue to provide our visitors when they need us most.”
To donate visit http://www.justgiving.com/parishwalk2014 or text the code NIAP85 and the amount you wish to donate, for example £5, to 70070. All donations gratefully received.
For more information on Newcastle International Airport visit www.newcastleairport.com
THE region’s air ambulance has opened a new base at Newcastle International Airport.
The Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) will now operate out of Tyne and Wear after a partnership agreement was made with the airport.
GNAAS will still hold its main operational headquarters at Durham Tees Valley Airport near Darlington. It also operates an aircraft at Langwathby in Cumbria, which will also remain unaffected.
Kevin Hodgson, Director of Operations at GNAAS, said the Newcastle base would provide a strategic waypoint which will allow the charity to better serve the North East as a whole.
“This is great news for the charity and great news for the region,” he added. “It means we can now refuel and be ready for action quicker than ever before.
“We remain committed to Durham Tees Valley Airport, which has been a great supporter of the charity, but this arrangement just gives us greater flexibility, and that can only be of benefit to the patient.
“We would like to thank Newcastle International Airport for their support, this will make a big difference to the service we offer the region.”
The GNAAS aircraft are frequent visitors to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Hospital, which is one of only 12 hospitals listed by the NHS as adult and children’s major trauma centres in the country, along with the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough.
Instead of flying straight back to base near Darlington, the helicopters will now be able to stop-over in Tyne and Wear, allowing for a more rapid refuelling and restocking, while providing the doctors, paramedics and pilots time to prepare for their next assignment. The new base features office space, toilet and kitchen facilities.
Testing of the new arrangement has already highlighted how important it could prove to be. On Sunday, May 11th, a woman fell at home in Swinhoe, near Holy Island, Northumberland, suffering two suspected broken legs.
The charity’s Guardian of the North aircraft was already situated at the new base, and from there reached the scene in seven minutes. From its normal base, the flight would have taken around twenty minutes.
Mr Hodgson said: “When responding to an emergency, time can be absolutely critical to the patient’s survival. Anyone in Tyne and Wear, and in Northumberland to the north, will benefit from much quicker response times when the aircraft is stationed at the new base.”
Dave Laws, Chief Executive of Newcastle International Airport, said: “We are delighted to be supporting the Great North Air Ambulance with a new base here at Newcastle International Airport.
“Good transport links are essential, not only for the North East travelling public, but for services like the Air Ambulance, that have to reach people in need as quickly and efficiently as possible. We are pleased to support the Great North Air Ambulance and their activities across the region which help so many people each year.”
The Great North Air Ambulance Service is 100 per cent charitably funded and must raise around £4m a year to keep flying. It flies around 1,000 missions a year across the North East, North Yorkshire and Cumbria.
Thomson and First Choice increase capacity from Newcastle International Airport and introduce two new routes
Thomson and First Choice are pleased to announce that in summer 2015 they will be increasing capacity at Newcastle International Airport through the introduction of over 7,000 additional seats and two new routes to Agadir, Morocco and Dubrovnik, Croatia bringing the total destinations on offer from Newcastle Airport to 35.
The move to introduce these routes is part of the UK’s largest tour operator’s strategy to ensure customers across the UK can fly from their local airport, and stay at the best hotels in some of the most exciting destinations. The new routes went on sale on the 24th April.
Not only will customers from Newcastle be able to fly to some fantastic destinations, but they will also have the opportunity to choose varying durations – not just the standard seven and 14 night stays. Customers travelling from Newcastle will also have access to some of Thomson and First Choice’s most popular flagship hotels. These include the brand new for summer 2015 Thomson Sensatori Resorts in Ibiza and Turkey’s Dalaman region.
Local sun seekers will also be able to join Thomson Cruises’ brand new itineraries from Dubrovnik with the introduction of the new additional weekly flight to Croatia. They will have the opportunity to sail on Thomson Celebration on itineraries such as Grecian Legends and Croatian Classics, as well as taking advantage of the extensive cruise and stay programme on offer.
Karen Switzer, Director of Aviation Planning for Thomson and First Choice, said of the move: “Adding additional capacity from the North East of the UK and the introduction of two new routes demonstrates our commitment to Newcastle Airport and the local area, and following the success of similar routes across a number of regional airports, we know that the demand is there.
“Expanding access to our portfolio of destinations and hotels is a key part of our overall strategy and we hope that this move will enhance the holiday experience for our customers.”
Chris Sanders, Aviation Development Director, Newcastle International Airport added: “The addition of Agadir and flights to Dubrovnik is great news for the North East. It is a very long time ago since we last enjoyed flights to Morocco, while the Croatian flight allows travellers the option of both Mediterranean cruise and land-based holidays.”
South Tyneside Council Chief Executive, Martin Swales arranged a behind-the-scenes visit for South Tyneside Councillors to view the operations of the airport. As the Local Authority with lead responsibility for the airport, Elected Members were particularly keen to see progress. South Tyneside along with six other local authorities (Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Northumberland and Sunderland) hold the majority share.
• Summer programme underway including new daily flight to Dalaman
• New aircraft registrations G-TCDD and G-TCDE arrive in new Thomas Cook Airlines livery
• Summer 15 programme announced – includes new flights from Newcastle to Santorini and Hurghada
Following the announcement last year of daily flights to Dalaman this summer, Thomas Cook Airlines’ summer programme gets underway this week – with the airline’s fleet at Newcastle International Airport including two brand new Airbus A321 aircraft in the new Thomas Cook Sunny Heart livery.
Arriving at the airport on Wednesday night, the two aircraft – registrations G-TCDD and G-TCDE – will start taking holidaymakers overseas with their first flights as part of the Thomas Cook fleet on Thursday to Zante (05.00) and Dalaman (13.55) respectively.
Christoph Debus, CEO of Thomas Cook Airlines, said, “Today is a great day for holidaymakers in the North East, as we celebrate the arrival of two brand new aircraft and the start of our new flying programme for the summer – with even more new destinations announced for next summer too.
“Our customers will experience a new level of comfort and reliability on our new aircraft and we’re extremely pleased that we’re able to offer an increased schedule for both our flight-only and holiday customers. We’ve worked with the airport for many successful years and we’re very excited about developing our partnership even further.”
Thomas Cook Airlines will introduce a total of six new A321 aircraft across its UK fleet this summer.
Last year, Thomas Cook Airlines announced additional seats on flights taking off from Newcastle International Airport this summer, all made possible with the addition of another day’s flying to Dalaman, Turkey – meaning the airline will have daily departures to this popular destination in 2014 and further cementing its long term partnership with the airport. Coupled with the addition of a new-for-2014 flight to the popular Greek Island of Kos, there will be more choice for holidaymakers this summer.
For summer 2015, new routes from Newcastle have been announced to Santorini and Hurghada. Along with an additional flight to Enfidha, flight only and holiday deals for next summer are on sale now.
Dave Laws, Chief Executive of Newcastle International Airport added, “These new aircraft are a welcome addition to the Thomas Cook fleet based at Newcastle Airport, and it’s great to see the airline showing its dedication to the region in this way.
“With the announcement of new flights for this year and for 2015, North East travellers have an even wider range of destinations to choose from at their local airport. Newcastle Airport was named best large airport in the UK by readers of Which? Magazine in 2013, and services like this will help us to continue providing a great experience to our customers.”
Thomas Cook Airlines currently 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 or Co-operative Travel stores in the Newcastle area, customers can find Thomas Cook Airlines’ flight-only offers at www.flythomascook.com. Thomas Cook holidays available at www.thomascook.com, or by calling 0844 412 5970.
Works set to transform the airside experience for passengers
Newcastle International Airport, the region’s largest airport, has today (Friday 11 April) announced a major development of its departure lounge, with a total investment of over £14 million.
The airport, which aims to be the most welcoming in the UK, formally outlined its plans to reshape the airside experience for passengers, which will see the entire departure lounge transform over the next year. As well as offering new shops, restaurants, cafes and bar areas, the departure lounge layout will be changed in order to provide a more straightforward journey for customers.
The first phase of the development is now complete, with The Beer House, Flying Hippo, and Aspire Lounge open for passengers from April 2014. The next major phase will begin in autumn 2014, with most work expected to be completed by May 2015.
Highlights still to come include a new walk-through World Duty Free store and exciting new food and beverage outlets, soon to be announced. Customers will benefit from an improved sense of flow as they pass through the curved walkways, seating areas and streamlined shop fronts of the new departure lounge.
Dave Laws, Chief Executive at Newcastle International Airport, said: “The departure lounge development will completely transform the airside experience for our customers. Alongside our business partners, we’re investing a total of £14 million to ensure customers have the best possible journey through the airport. Our passengers’ holidays start here at the airport so it’s very important to us that we give them the best possible experience. We also cater for many business travellers and we are always striving to meet their specific requirements.
“We are confident that the new layout will be more intuitive and will help passengers to make a more informed choice on where they shop, eat, drink or simply relax before their flight. The departure lounge will have a modern and vibrant shopping centre feel - something that we know from feedback is what our customers want. We are meeting the needs of the modern traveller with excellent facilities and there will be plenty on offer for families, couples, groups and business travellers alike.
“Existing brands such as WHSmith, Boots, Travelex, Accessorize and Traveller will move into new stores, while a host of additional new brands will join us before the project is finished in summer 2015.
“The first phase of the development is now complete. The Flying Hippo has opened to great feedback from passengers who enjoy the sense of fun and exceptional food. The Beer House also welcomed its first customers recently and is very popular with passengers wishing to sample some of the best local beers on offer.
“In addition, we recently opened the doors of our new Aspire Lounge which is the largest in the UK. The Lounge is available for all passengers. We are also the first in the country to have an AspirePlus Lounge which offers an adult only area with an enhanced menu, premium drinks package and exclusive Spey Whisky bar.”
Gill Caleary, Commercial Director at Newcastle International Airport, said: “The development, where possible, will capture the flavours and sense of the North East. We are using local suppliers and ingredients whenever we can to make the customer feel relaxed and at home, whilst showcasing the best of what we have for visitors.”
Cllr Iain Malcolm, Leader of South Tyneside Council and Leader of the LA7 shareholders, said: “This investment is great news for the region. The North East travelling public will enjoy the new facilities as they jet off either for business or that well-deserved holiday. The new development will reinforce Newcastle International’s role as a major regional airport, and a key economic generator for our region.”
David Rees of AMP Capital, said: “This development is an important part of the commercial strategy for the airport. The new departure lounge is a major investment by the airport, and its business partners, for the benefit of passengers. The plans are very exciting and I’m sure the full development will be extremely popular.”
The Flying Hippo
The Flying Hippo is an American-style diner with burgers, sharing pizzas, refillable drinks and even Prosecco on tap!
The restaurant also features an American smoking oven, a first in any airport in the UK, to cook pulled pork and briskets to perfection – currently a very popular food trend.
There are zones for family dining with booths incorporating special Flying Hippo interactive games to keep children entertained, as well as a dedicated children’s play area.
The Beer House
Lovers of real ale will enjoy the on-tap selection at The Beer House. Ales are sourced from Tyne Bank Brewery and served alongside popular premium lagers, such as Moretti and Pilsner Urquell.
Food at The Beer House is hand-held, featuring pulled pork and roast beef stotties with fresh bread coming from the artisan bakers at the Geordie Bakers.
Lucy Knowles, Chief Marketing Officer for SSP, said: “Creating a restaurant and bar that captured the spirit of the North East and offered food with genuine local provenance was a top priority for Newcastle International Airport. When we were designing the two new concepts, Flying Hippo and The Beer House, we worked with local suppliers from day one. Both our new outlets allow passengers to experience a real taste of the region - from locally produced beers such as Tyne Bank Silver Dollar, to burgers, ribs and bacon from local butchers Manners, and sausages and pork scratchings from Dropswell Farm, County Durham.
“Novel concepts such as smoking ovens especially imported from America add an exciting twist to the menus, and innovations such as Asti Spumante served ‘on tap’ or home-made ‘bar bits’ make Flying Hippo and The Beer House truly exciting places to start a trip.”
The Aspire Lounge is open to anyone regardless of which airline passengers are travelling with, or their class of travel.
Customers can also upgrade to the AspirePlus Lounge, which brings together opulent surroundings with dedicated staff on hand to give passengers the best possible start to their journey.
Shaun Weston, Travel Services Director at Swissport, commented: “We are delighted to be bringing a brand new concept to Newcastle Airport. Both the Aspire and AspirePlus Lounges support the airport’s commitment to passenger wellbeing and we look forward to helping Newcastle Airport achieve their goal to be the most welcoming airport in the UK. The new lounge means that customers travelling from Newcastle Airport can expect exceptional service and fantastic facilities in a comfortable, modern environment specifically designed to meet their needs.”