Newcastle International Airport has announced a £14million pound investment plan for a major development of its departure lounge.
The airport aims to be the most welcoming in the UK and formally outlined its plans to reshape the airside experience for passengers, which will see the entire departure lounge transform over the next year.
As well as offering new shops, restaurants, cafes and bar areas, the departure lounge layout will be changed in order to provide a more straightforward journey for customers.
The first phase of the development is now complete, with The Beer House, Flying Hippo, and Aspire Lounge open for passengers from April 2014. The next major phase will begin in autumn 2014, with most work expected to be completed by May 2015.
Plans include a new walk-through World Duty Free store and exciting new food and beverage outlets and customers will benefit from an improved sense of flow as they pass through the curved walkways, seating areas and streamlined shop fronts of the new departure lounge.
Dave Laws, Chief Executive at Newcastle International Airport, said: “The departure lounge development will completely transform the airside experience for our customers.
“Alongside our business partners, we’re investing a total of £14 million to ensure customers have the best possible journey through the airport.
“Our passengers’ holidays start here at the airport so it’s very important to us that we give them the best possible experience.
“We also cater for many business travellers and we are always striving to meet their specific requirements.
“We are confident that the new layout will be more intuitive and will help passengers to make a more informed choice on where they shop, eat, drink or simply relax before their flight. T
“The departure lounge will have a modern and vibrant shopping centre feel - something that we know from feedback is what our customers want. We are meeting the needs of the modern traveller with excellent facilities and there will be plenty on offer for families, couples, groups and business travellers alike.
“Existing brands such as WH Smith, Boots, Travelex, Accessorize and Traveller will move into new stores, while a host of additional new brands will join us before the project is finished in summer 2015.
“The first phase of the development is now complete. The Flying Hippo has opened to great feedback from passengers who enjoy the sense of fun and exceptional food. The Beer House also welcomed its first customers recently and is very popular with passengers wishing to sample some of the best local beers on offer.
“In addition, we recently opened the doors of our new Aspire Lounge which is the largest in the UK. The Lounge is available for all passengers. We are also the first in the country to have an AspirePlus Lounge which offers an adult only area with an enhanced menu, premium drinks package and exclusive Spey Whisky bar.”
Gill Caleary, Commercial Director at Newcastle International Airport, said: “The development, where possible, will capture the flavours and sense of the North East. We are using local suppliers and ingredients whenever we can to make the customer feel relaxed and at home, whilst showcasing the best of what we have for visitors.”
Cllr Iain Malcolm, Leader of South Tyneside Council and Leader of the LA7 shareholders, said: “This investment is great news for the region. The North East travelling public will enjoy the new facilities as they jet off either for business or that well-deserved holiday. The new development will reinforce Newcastle International’s role as a major regional airport, and a key economic generator for our region.”
David Rees of AMP Capital, said: “This development is an important part of the commercial strategy for the airport. The new departure lounge is a major investment by the airport, and its business partners, for the benefit of passengers. The plans are very exciting and I’m sure the full development will be extremely popular.”