FAMILIES and friends embraced as they were reunited just in time for Christmas celebrations.
Newcastle Airport resembled scenes from the hit movie Love Actually as loved ones were overcome with emotion on seeing each other again.
Some of those waiting for the Emirates flight to arrive from Dubai yesterday had not seen their relations for months.
Lorraine Baird and children Grace and Phillip were waiting for dad Steve to return from Qatar.
“He only comes home three weeks a year so we are really excited to see him,” said wife Lorraine, 57. We have only spent two days together as a family this year so it is going to be really special and it is Steve’s 57th birthday on Christmas Day.
“We missed greeting him last year because we didn’t arrive on time so we were prepared this year,” added Lorraine, of Fenham, Newcastle.
Young children jumped into the arms of parents who have been working abroad.
James Keedy, of South Shields in South Tyneside, was reunited with his partner Philippa Shone and son Jacob after spending four weeks working in Australia.
And David Storey, of Prudhoe in Northumberland, was greeted by his wife Michelle and daughters Ellie and Megan after spending four months working for the US military in Afghanistan. He said: “It’s great to be home, it is hard being away even though the weather is miserable.”
The air was filled with anticipation as families waited to see who was next to come through the arrivals gate.
Mum Doris Woodfine, of Chester-le-Street, threw open her arms to embrace her son Andrew who was returning from Oman.
“It is lovely to be reunited,” said 43-year-old Andrew, who had been away working for six months.
Staff at Newcastle Airport are expecting around 80,000 passengers to travel to or from Newcastle between December 23 and January 2, with between 800 and 900 flights during this time.
Graeme Mason, planning and corporate affairs director at Newcastle International Airport, said: “It is fantastic to see people welcoming home friends and family.”
Newcastle Airport also announced that Maggie’s in the North East is their adopted charity for the New Year.
From January, Maggie’s will benefit from funds raised at the airport. Maggie’s offers a free programme of emotional support and advice to people with cancer as well as their friends and families. There will be collection points throughout the airport terminals as well as fundraising events.
Airport chief executive Dave Laws said: “Our new adopted charity Maggie’s is a wonderful charity which we feel will have a real benefit for those in the region and their families dealing with cancer and will offer a valuable service.
“We look forward to working with them to support their launch in the region from January.”
Lorna Moran, chair of Maggie’s North East, said: “We are delighted to have been chosen as Newcastle Airport’s adopted charity for the next two years. It is such a great boost to Maggie’s this Christmas.
“Maggie’s provide practical and emotional support to people with cancer and their loved ones, completely free of charge. It is only because of the generosity of supporters like Newcastle Airport we are able to provide this vital support. ”