The business behind Newcastle International Airport has enjoyed another strong year.
NIAL Group Limited results for the 12 months ended December 31, 2014, show passenger numbers rose 2% compared to the previous year to hit 4.56m.
Revenue likewise increased 3% to £58.6m, while operating profit rose 8% to £22.5m.
According to a strategic report from the group, the performance was influenced by improved economic conditions in the UK as a whole and in the North East specifically.
Business travel in particular helped drive growth in hub traffic volumes and significant investment had also been made in services and facilities at the airport.
This allowed for improvements to the security processing area and investment in staff to help them provide high standards of customer service.
The report said: “Passenger facilities will be further enhanced during 2015 with the completion of a major development of the departure lounge, which will see a complete reconfiguration of the area.
“Once complete, the new area will include new and improved catering and retail space, which will better meet the need of the airport’s customers.
“Improvements already completed in the departure lounge include the new Beer House and Flying Hippo, both of which have been well received by passengers.”
Throughout the period, scheduled international traffic grew by 18%, benefitting from new services to Brussels and Dublin with bmi regional and Aer Lingus regional respectively.
Scheduled domestic passenger numbers were 12% below the previous year, following the move of the Gatwick service from Flybe to EasyJet in March.
Chartered volumes remained in line with the previous year and low cost international numbers were 2% below 2013 levels, resulting from reduced Ryanair volumes.
Low cost domestic volumes, meanwhile, increased by 24%, driven by the commencement of the EasyJet service to Gatwick.
Car parking operations at the airport likewise saw strong revenue growth.
David Laws, chief executive of Newcastle International Airport, said: “2014 was another strong year for Newcastle International Airport. The NIAL Group accounts show positive growth across all key aspects of the business.
“Passenger numbers grew by 2% on the previous year, and revenues increased by 3%. These increases supported growth in EBITDA of 5% to £32.9m and in operating profit of 8% to £22.5m.
“Newcastle has now cemented its position as the international gateway airport for the North East, and this financial performance reflects an ongoing commitment to customer service and continued investment in facilities.
“In 2014, significant stages of a £14m departure lounge development were completed, the Airport won Which? and Wanderlust awards, and a United Airlines service to New York was announced.
“The airport is very much a barometer for the state of the regional economy. With the strong performance we have shown, the outlook for the North East more generally must surely be good.”
This year sees the launch of the first regular transatlantic service with United Airlines’ from Newcastle to New York, operating five times a week during the summer months.
NIAL Group says it believes 2015 passengers numbers will remain static, though it would continue to work closely with its airline partners to stimulate growth in the future.
No dividends were paid in the year.