Business leaders have welcomed the news that easyJet is to take over FlyBe's former route to London's Gatwick airport.
The budget airline plans to introduce flights twice a day, six days a week from the North East to the capital’s second airport from the end of March 2014.
Ali Gayward, the airline’s UK commercial manager said: “We are pleased to add London Gatwick to the list of destinations served from Newcastle International Airport and continue to demonstrate our commitment to the North East of England.
“As London remains one of the North East’s key trading partners we have designed a frequent schedule which will make it easy for business travellers to reach the capital and affordable for everyone whether they travel for business or leisure.”
Tickets for the new route, easyJet’s 15th from Newcastle International Airport, are already on sale.
Fares will start from £27.49 per person.
Dave Laws, chief executive of Newcastle International and chairman of the North East Chamber of Commerce, said the airline’s decision to add Newcastle to Gatwick to its roster was positive news for the region.
“The announcement that easyJet will operate the Newcastle to Gatwick route from the end of March is fantastic news for the North East,” he said.
“This is a vital connection for those in the region who want to reach London and the South East and it also gives passengers the opportunity to use the wide range of flights leaving from Gatwick Airport to destinations across the globe.
“We’re very pleased that easyJet have seen the importance of the route and joined us in maintaining this vital link,” he added.
Iain Malcolm, leader of South Tyneside Council and the Local Authority Seven group, which owns 51% of the airport, said he was delighted to see the airline continuing to show their support for the region.
“On behalf of Newcastle Airport’s local authority shareholders, I am pleased to see the continued investment from easyJet in the North East,” he said.
“We know the airport’s customers will take advantage of this route to connect to the capital, whether they’re travelling for business or leisure.”