TRANSPORT chiefs have unveiled a £3.2m investment to extend Newcastle International Airport for the first time since 2004.
Plans show how the terminal will be transformed with a new 5,000sq ft annex which will house the new security checks, vastly cutting the time passengers spend queuing.
Work will begin on the three-storey extension as early as next month, with the project scheduled for completion in spring next year.
North East business leaders welcomed the investment as a timely vote of confidence in the region’s economy.
In total the new build will provide an extra 5,242sq ft of terminal space, which will mean the current number of baggage screen lanes can be doubled to 10. Passengers will pass through the new facility, equipped with the latest in safety and security scanning equipment, on their way to the departure lounges. The move will also allow the arrivals area of the terminal to be redeveloped in partnership with UK Border Agency next month.
The number of passport examination desks will be increased from four to six in time for December.
Airport chiefs have already promised the work will be carried out in phases.
Dave laws, chief executive at Newcastle International, said: “Despite these challenging times, we are investing in the business and, in turn, the wider region. The extension will create an excellent platform for future growth and development.
“We hope these improvements to our security process will make a positive difference to our customers travelling through the airport, for them to experience an enjoyable journey is a priority for us.”
North East business bosses have said investment in the airport is key for securing the international trade and links, key to financial recovery and stability. The extension comes after work to refurbish the departure gates and ahead of plans to change features such as signs throughout the airport.
Mr Laws added: “We are keen to ensure that the passage through Newcastle Airport is efficient, meets high standards of customer service, and is carried out in line with regulatory requirements.
“As a business, we must be competitive. By delivering an efficient range of facilities, and a fantastic service, we hope customers should never need to travel from any other airport.”