Thousands of Rugby Fans to be welcomed through Newcastle Airport ahead of Rugby Finals

Newcastle International Airport is preparing to welcome thousands of extra passengers through its doors ahead of the European Professional Club Rugby Finals.

Over 7,500 rugby fans are expected to arrive at North East’s largest airport over the course of this weekend (9th - 13th MAY) for the much-anticipated showpiece finals at St James’ Park in Newcastle.

Almost 20% of the stadium will be filled by passengers who have flown in to the region for the finals.

It is expected that over two thirds of the fans travelling though the airport will be coming from Ireland to support Leinster Rugby in Saturday’s match against Saracens in the Heineken Champions Cup final.

Ryanair and Aer Lingus, who both operate services between Dublin and Newcastle, are adding a number of extra flights between the two cities.

British Airways has changed its Saturday evening London Heathrow departure to a later time to provide a day-return option for Saracens supporters and rugby followers.

Air France services have also proven popular with the scores of French fans who are coming to support either ASM Clermont or La Rochelle in their nail-biting European Rugby Challenge Cup Final match on Friday. A number of charter flights will also go directly between the destinations.

A total of 62 extra flights will be operating to and from the Airport, with robust plans in place to cope with the additional flights whilst normal operations and scheduled flights continue. 

Nick Jones, Chief Executive at Newcastle International Airport, said: “Holding great sporting events like this in the North East is a fantastic opportunity for the region, and we are pleased to play a part in what is going to be a memorable set of cup finals.

“We will be encouraging fans to download the ‘NCL Airport’ app to receive up-to-date live flight information and alerts, to make their journey as seamless and stress-free as possible.

“Rugby fans can also discover more about the region, and plan their visit for between the matches by looking at our new inbound tourism website – Visit North East England.

“There has been a real team effort between the airport and its partners in the run up to the event to ensure that the whole weekend runs smoothly.

“I am sure that there will be a fantastic atmosphere at the airport and in Newcastle city centre over the whole weekend and I wish all of the teams the best of luck.”

Mick Hogan, Newcastle 2019 event director, said: “Tens of thousands of fans from across Europe and further afield are heading to Newcastle for the greatest weekend in rugby.

“The city centre is easily accessible from Newcastle Airport and there are a range of amazing hotels, bars and restaurants within walking distance of St James’ Park.

“From today (Thursday 9 May), fans, and locals alike, will also be able to enjoy activations around St James’ Park, Grey’s Monument and the Champions Rugby Village on the iconic Quayside.

“At these locations, there will be something for everything – with family-friendly have-a-go sporting activities, live music and entertainment, food and drink vendors, and large screens for those without tickets to the games.

“For a timetable of activities and the latest information, people can download the ‘Newcastle 2019’ app.”

Newcastle 2019 is a partnership between Newcastle City Council, Newcastle United FC, NewcastleGateshead Initiative and Newcastle Falcons.

Councillor Iain Malcolm, Leader of South Tyneside Council and lead of the LA7 shareholders, said: “This high-profile sporting event is an opportunity to showcase the region and all it has to offer to a whole new target audience.

“Yet again Newcastle Airport is proving itself to be a significant asset for the North East.

“Through our partnership working with inbound tourism bodies, I am certain that we can capitalise on these additional visitors and encourage them to visit again and further stimulate the regional economy.”

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