Community leaders have backed plans to develop Newcastle International Airport which will double the number of passengers and help create more than 2,000 jobs.
As the airport launched a three-month public consultation into its new masterplan for the years up to 2030, members of the airport’s consultative committee – which includes representatives of surrounding villages – welcomed a roadmap for “organic growth”.
John Scott, a member of the Darras Hall Estate Committee and vice president of the airport’s consultative committee, welcomed the consultation, saying it showed bosses were trying to be good neighbours.
“I think it’s great that the airport sees future development because it is a very important part of the local economy.
“Apart from the fact it looks like the future will hold more jobs, which is always a good thing, it is vital that businesses have connections to the rest of the UK and the world.
“The plans are certainly ambitious and I hope they are workable, but at the same time they seem to me to be quite slow, organic growth.
“In seven or eight years they are only talking about another 300 workers at the airport itself, and any increase in passenger numbers seems gradual – they talk about nearly 20 years to double the number of passengers – which I think sounds realistic.”
“They are a business but they try to involve people and get around to speak to them, so that they know what is happening,” Mr Scott, who remembers when the airport was just a series of wooden huts, added.
“Some people will say they won’t want it but the overall good the airport does for the economy in the North East is so substantial that so long as the development is handled sensitively then I’m for it.
In its consultation documents, the airport predicts that by 2030, the number of staff on site will have grown from 3,200 to 4,100, with the number of jobs it supports across the region rising from 7,800 to 10,000.
At the same time it says its impact on the region’s economy could double, from £646m to £1.3bn.
Graeme Mason, planning and corporate affairs director at NIA, said he hopes that the consultation, which includes public meetings in Ponteland, Woolsington, Dinnington, Wideopen and Dudley and roadshow events in Wideopen, Heddon, Kingston Park, Ponteland, Dudley, Newbiggin Hall and Cramlington, will give people the opportunity to consider how the plans could affect them.
“We really pride ourselves on our relationship with the local community,” he said.
“And we want to talk to people face to face. But we’ll also be using social media, with comments all fed in to the consultation.
“People will have a range of views and we hope the majority will be in favour, but this will provide an opportunity for people to bring up the issues they want raised. We’re not going to hide from that.”
For more information on the consultation visit www.newcastleairport.com