Improving economic conditions across the UK have triggered a year of “pleasing growth” at Newcastle International airport, where passenger numbers jumped to 4.46m.
New facilities, new services and the frequency of those services, as well as the introduction of larger aircraft at the airport, helped to drive up the number of passengers by 1.4% in 2013, latest accounts have revealed.
Accounts filed at Companies House for Newcastle International Airport Group show revenues grew on the back of the rise in passenger figures, by 2.9% from £55.1m to £56.7m and operating profit also rose, from £18.7m to £20.9m.
The firm said it had been boosted by the effect of the full year of the upgrade of Emirates’ daily service to Dubai, a successful start to Aer Lingus Regional’s new Dublin service and a strong year for Air France and KLM.
Income from retail activities, which include the airport’s shops and catering facilities, also showed strong growth despite difficult trading conditions, rising by 4% on 2012. Other income, from rent and other sources, was 5% up year-on-year, as was income from car parks.
The firm said it is largely exposed to the strength of the North East economy, but that the improving economy was lifting the firm’s position and.
The strategic report accompanying the accounts said: “The increase in passenger numbers was achieved against the backdrop of improving economic conditions in the UK as a whole and the North East in particular and it is pleasing to see that growth has returned to the industry after a number of years of flat passenger numbers.
“The company has capitalised on the improved passenger throughput and its ability to grow revenues from all sources of the business to secure strong revenue growth.”
Since the year end the company has opened its much enhanced departure area facilities – the newly-branded Aspire lounge – which includes separate areas to cater for individual passenger needs and, looking ahead, more improvements are to follow throughout 2014.
Simon Fisher, finance director, said: “Newcastle International continues to go from strength to strength. We are delighted to report that the group operating profit continues to grow, increasing from £18.7m to £20.9m in the year to 31 December 2013. This result was achieved on the back of turnover growth from £55.1m to £56.7m, which in turn reflects increased passengers using the airport and improved facilities for our customers.
“We continue to look to areas to grow the business and provide new and better services to our customers, which is in line with our aim to be the most welcoming airport in the UK. Recent developments within the terminal include the Flying Hippo, the Beer House and the Aspire lounge, all of which have been fantastically well received. “Looking forward, final planning for a major £14m terminal development project is well underway with works expected to commence in the Autumn, and the Newcastle International Airport Business Park should follow next year. Newcastle is one of the UK’s most successful regional airports, and these figures further reinforce this position.”