SOME of the world's biggest airport investors are said to be considering buying into Newcastle Airport.
The Journal understands there have been around 10 expressions of interest as groups look to snap up a 49% share in the airport, potentially bringing with them millions in investment.
The majority share of the airport is owned by the seven North East councils, who are now looking for a new partner after Danish group Copenhagen Airports put its share up for sale.
The interest comes as Easington MP Grahame Morris accused the Government of neglecting the North East’s regional airports in a parliamentary debate.
Mr Morris said that Newcastle and Durham Tees Valley airports are “struggling with a fall in passenger journeys” due to the recession and need further support to help the region come out of the slump.
He said: “The Government are not doing enough to make regional airports flourish. There is considerable potential, and a major boost could be provided to jobs and growth in the North East.”
Ministers are currently awaiting the outcome of an inquiry in the capital’s airport capacity. While this distracted their attention, the Labour MP said, the likes of Newcastle were still crying out for support in areas such as improved road links along the A1 Western Bypass.
Mr Morris said: “That would be of considerable benefit in terms of gross value added and improving journey times.
“We need to ensure that the UK can compete in both established and emerging markets. That requires investment in airport infrastructure, and not only to enhance connectivity right across the country; the UK needs vibrant, point-to-point airports and sufficient world-class hub capacity.”
He added: “These airports have considerable potential as engines of sustainable economic growth. Newcastle airport supports 7,800 jobs, with more than 3,000 of those on site. The benefits go not only to Newcastle, but to the whole North East region.
“The benefits to the regional economy are put at some £646m. The airport contributes £57m gross value added for tourism, it handles 4.7 million passengers a year and generates £48.8m a year in air passenger duty from passengers flying from Newcastle. But the number of passengers at Newcastle airport has reduced from 5.5m in 2007 to 4.7m in 2012, while, even more dramatically, the number for Durham Tees Valley airport has decreased from 1 million in 2005 to 200,000 in 2012.”
Responding for the Government, Treasury minister Sajid Javid said: “Strong cases were made (during the debate), and they were all duly noted. If the promoters of these projects have not already done so, they should start the discussion immediately with the UK infrastructure team in the Treasury.”