Newcastle Airport officials are celebrating their growing relationship with Irish low-fare carrier Ryanair with the addition of a new link to the Spanish capital, Madrid in summer 2017. The airline had already revealed an expanded 2017 programme earlier this summer when it added flights to Faro, Girona and Palma to its Newcastle network.
The full summer 2017 programme will see Ryanair offer 52 weekly flights on 12 routes from Newcastle and alongside the new destinations will see its winter routes to Gdansk, Lanzarote, Tenerife, Warsaw and Wroclaw extend into the summer, and more flights added to Alicante, Dublin and Malaga.
Ryanair will offer twice weekly flights between Newcastle and Madrid from March 27, 2017, the only service on the route. “Madrid is a leading European city and another excellent addition to our flight programme as we continue to explore and add further city destinations accessible from Newcastle,” said Leon McQuaid, aviation development manager, Newcastle Airport.
“With twice weekly flights conveniently timed, we expect this service to be extremely popular with both business and leisure travellers throughout the region,” he added.
Speaking to Routesonline on the sidelines of the World Routes air service development forum in Chengdu, China, McQuaid noted that 2016 has been full of success stories for the North East English airport, including a link to another Spanish city destination that was delivered with a little help from Routes event attendance.
“Our portfolio has grown as we welcomed Vueling's first ever Barcelona service at Newcastle, something that has been delivered on the back of meetings at World Routes and Routes Europe,” he confirmed.
Since then the airport’s city break offering has grown even further as easyJet announced Berlin from winter 2016, Ryanair added three new polish cities (from winter) as well as Madrid as part of their significant expansion at Newcastle. Elsewhere, bmi regional started services to Stavanger and Jet2 expanded their discovery programme with even more New York breaks and European 'Christmas shopping breaks', as well as operating a seventh based aircraft for 2016.
“These coupled with our significant services from the likes of Emirates Airline, British Airways, KLM and Air France to major worldwide hubs, all operating with consistently high load factors, and the likes of additional services to Cancun on the Thomson Airways Dreamliner have all amounted to a great year so far for Newcastle, and exciting times ahead for 2017,” added McQuaid.
However, he is mindful that the airport mustn't rest on its laurels and continue to look for further opportunities for 2017 and the longer term, and that it is always mindful of sustainability for all of its airline partners as it strives to meet the demands of its market for both business and leisure.
“Attending world routes provides the opportunity to network with key players in the industry, nuture and build relationships, both new and existing, through face-to-face meetings and during more relaxed settings such as the evening networking events,” said McQuaid. “I doubt I would engage with the same number of airlines without this forum and of course, it's always a great privilege to visit and be welcomed by all of these wonderful cities.”
On the negative side the airport may have recently lost its summer transatlantic connection to Newark from United Airlines due mainly to currency fluctuations post the Brexit referendum deeming it unsustainable, however, its long-haul link to the east from Emirates Airline continues to from strength to strength with record traffic levels last month.
The daily route to Dubai, hailed as a game changer for the North East upon its arrival in 2007, carried 22,745 passengers in August, a five percent growth on last year. Key to its success is that it connects the North East of England via Dubai to over 150 destinations.
The Emirates service carries the vast majority of exports flown out of Newcastle Airport, the value of which now stands at £310 million per annum. Before Emirates arrived in the region, flown exports stood at less than £20 million.