Richard Knight, Operations Director at Newcastle International Airport and Cllr Iain Malcolm, Leader of South Tyneside Council.
Newcastle International Airport is today (17 Feb) celebrating 50 years since the opening of its terminal building.
On 17 February, 1967, the then prime minister Harold Wilson officially opened the £2.5m scheme that has helped transform the airport from a local airfield into the region’s biggest and the world’s most punctual small airport.
More than 360,000 passengers made their way through the terminal in 1967, with Wilson praising the ultra-modern terminal, stating that the airport would be vital to the future of the North East and it would play a pivotal role in the region’s economic development.
In 2016, over 4.8 million passengers travelled through the airport, marking six years of positive year on year growth, on over 41,000 scheduled flights.
The airport, which contributes directly £581m into the regional economy every year, now serves more than 80 direct destinations and connects across the world via a wider global network through London Heathrow, Paris, Barcelona, Brussels, Amsterdam, Dublin, Copenhagen and Dubai.
With the airport currently transforming its landside facility and to mark the historic occasion, cllr Iain Malcolm, leader of South Tyneside Council and lead of the LA7 shareholders was present to lay a floor tile as part of the redevelopment works.
The re-tiling of the landside facility, which comes just one year after the airport’s new £14m departure lounge redevelopment was officially opened, will replace the tiles that were fitted when the terminal was first opened in 1967.
Cllr Malcolm, said: “Newcastle Airport is a regional asset and the comments made by Prime Minister Wilson 50 years ago still remain significant to this day.
“The airport is the international gateway for the North East and a key economic generator for our region.
“The team at the airport and its shareholders work tirelessly to open up new markets for both our leisure and business customers.
“It is vital that we continue to target our efforts on routes that will further enhance regional connectivity, grow our economy, attract inward investment and encourage tourism.”