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Industry News

Newcastle Airport secures no-stop service from New York

United Airlines will introduce Newcastle Airport’s first non-stop transatlantic flights between its New York hub, Newark Liberty International Airport and Newcastle, from 23 May until 7 September 2015 (both dates westbound), subject to government approval. The frequency of the service will be five times weekly.

Flight UA159 will depart Newcastle daily except Wednesday and Thursday at 9:10am, arriving at New York / Newark at 12:00pm the same day. The return flight, UA160, will depart New York / Newark daily except Tuesday and Wednesday at 7:20pm, arriving in Newcastle at 7:30am the following day (all times local). Flight times will be seven hours 50 minutes westbound and seven hours 10 minutes eastbound.

The flights will be operated by Boeing 757-200 aircraft with a total of 169 seats – 16 flat-bed seats in United Business First and 153 in United Economy, including 45 Economy Plus seats with added legroom and increased personal space.

“We’re very excited about introducing non-stop flights to New York from Newcastle next summer,” said Bob Schumacher, United’s managing director of sales – UK & Ireland.

David Laws, chief executive at Newcastle Airport, said: “For many years, and everywhere I go, people have been stopping me and asking ‘when is the North East going to get a New York service?’

“I have been clear throughout that this is a route that we have been determined to deliver for the region. We have been carefully and quietly working behind the scenes, with our shareholders, to secure what will be another game-changing new route. I am delighted today that we are finally able to make the announcement everyone has been hoping for. United Airlines is the best airline to operate this service. They have an exceptional track record of linking U.K. regions to their New York / Newark hub, where customers can then connect to over 100 onward destinations.”

Councillor Iain Malcolm, leader of South Tyneside Council and lead of the LA7 shareholders, commented: “On behalf of the local authority shareholders, I am delighted that the collective efforts we have been making have been successful. This new service will be hugely significant, in terms of further enhancing regional connectivity, growing the regional economy, attracting inward investment and encouraging inbound tourism from North America. The local authorities and our partner organisations will work hard to make the route a success. We will work with inbound tourism bodies to promote the region to a new audience and we will work with the business community to increase awareness of the connectivity opened up.”

For more information and to book flights visit or call 0845 6076760.

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Double celebration at tourism Oscars

The North East England Tourism Awards 2014 not only celebrated winning businesses from right across the region, but also saw the announcement that the national VisitEngland Excellence Awards 2015 will take place at Sage Gateshead next year (Monday 11 May 2015).

The region’s tourism hot-spots were celebrated and congratulated on the exceptional contribution they make to the region’s visitor economy at this year’s North East England Tourism Awards on 11 November at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light.

Winners at the North East England Tourism Awards 2014 included Event Durham at Durham University (Business Tourism Award), Seafield Caravan Park in Seahouses (Caravan Holiday Park of the Year) and NewcastleGateshead Visitor Information Centre (Visitor Information Provider of the Year) – all of which have won gold for the second year running.

Students from the University of Sunderland entertained guests with a flashmob performance alongside music by Beach Fires, a duet formed by graduates John Timney and Shannon Powell. BBC Look North presenter Carol Malia hosted the event for the third year.

The Awards were delivered in partnership with Northumbrian Water, the University of Sunderland, Hi-Lights and 1879 Events at the Stadium of Light.

The full list of gold winners:

  • Access for All - Sage Gateshead
  • Bed & Breakfast / Guest Accommodation - Martineau Guest House, Tynemouth
  • Business Tourism - Event Durham, Durham University
  • Caravan Holiday Park / Holiday Village - Seafield Caravan Park, Seahouses
  • Large Hotel - Matfen Hall Hotel, Northumberland
  • Large Visitor Attraction - Beamish, The Living Museum of the North
  • Self Catering Provider - Springhill Farm Accommodation
  • Taste of England - Knitsley Farm Shop, Consett
  • Tourism Event - Kielder Winter Wonderland - Northumbrian Water
  • Tourism Experience - The Cycle Hub, Newcastle
  • Tourism Pub - The Bridge Tavern, Newcastle
  • Visitor Information Provider - NewcastleGateshead Visitor Information Centre
  • Small Hotel - Langley Castle Hotel, Hexham
  • Sustainable Tourism - Durham University
  • Small Visitor Attraction - WWT Washington Wetland Centre

There was further cause to celebrate with the announcement by Penelope, Viscountess Cobham, VisitEngland’s chairman, that the national VisitEngland Excellence Awards 2015 will take place at Sage Gateshead on Monday 11 May 2015.

She said: “The VisitEngland Awards for Excellence, to which tonight’s winners will go forward, take place in different locations each year.

“Sage Gateshead was shortlisted against venues including Twickenham to host the 2015 event and it gives me great pleasure to announce they have been selected. Many congratulations to the team, and to NewcastleGateshead Initiative, who together produced an impressive bid.

“In the year in which you will also host Rugby World Cup 2015, this provides another great opportunity to put the North East up front and centre, helping to further raise the profile of this dynamic destination.”

Winners at the regional awards have the opportunity to compete nationally at VisitEngland’s Excellence Awards 2015. Earlier this year, seven North East businesses went on to achieve national success following last year’s regional Awards, including St Cuthbert’s House (Bed & Breakfast of the Year) and Seafield Caravan Park (Caravan Holiday Park of the Year), both winning gold at the prestigious national awards.

The North East England Tourism Awards are organised on behalf of the Northern Tourism Alliance by destination management and marketing organisation, NewcastleGateshead Initiative.

Chief executive Sarah Stewart said: “2014 has been another stand-out year for tourism in the North East; the latest figures show the number of overseas visitors to the region is at its highest since 2008, seeing a 25% increase in the first six months of 2014.

“This growth is testament to the vibrancy and breadth of what the region has to offer visitors - from cultural city-breaks to family holidays by the sea - we’re home to two World Heritage Sites, world-class museums and galleries, breathtaking countryside and dramatic coastline. My congratulations to tonight’s winners, their commitment to excellence ensures the industry continues to go from strength to strength.

“We now look forward to hosting the national VisitEngland Excellence Awards in 2015, which is set to be yet another exciting year for tourism in the region.”

Northern Tourism Alliance members have supported the awards since 2012. The Alliance is a collaboration of the region’s tourism bodies who work together on projects that will benefit the tourism industry across the region. Members include NewcastleGateshead Initiative, Northumberland Tourism (representing Northumberland County Council), Visit County Durham, The North East Hotels Association and local authorities South Tyneside Council, North Tyneside Council and Sunderland City Council.

The tourism industry is an important part of the economy of North East England employing more than 55,000 people with an additional 500 jobs created over the last 12 months. It is worth an estimated £3.6bn to the economy of North East England.

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Transplant Games to bring £2m economic boost and lasting legacy

North East businessman and chair of the local organising committee, Graham Wylie, has urged North East businesses to support the Westfield Health British Transplant Games 2015, which will take place in NewcastleGateshead next year (30 July – 2 August 2015).

Graham said:

“We really want the people and businesses of the North East to get behind this great event. Not only will it deliver direct economic benefits for the area, but importantly it will also leave a lasting legacy in terms of increased awareness of organ donation. We hope that it will help to significantly boost the number of people signed up to the NHS Organ Donor Register in our region.

“The 2015 Games will also shine a light on the hard work, dedication and skill of the doctors and nurses who work in the Newcastle Trust Hospitals and support patients and families from all over the North East and across the UK who require transplant surgery.”

Bringing over 700 recipients of a life-saving organ transplant along with 2,000 of their supporters to the North East, it is estimated that the Games will inject £2m into the local economy. The Games, which have been held annually since 1978, is one of the largest annual multi-sports events in the United Kingdom and has grown from an original 99 entrants, (nicknamed the 99 blooming miracles), to 700+ competitors today. The Games will be hosted at venues across NewcastleGateshead and are supported by both Gateshead Council and Newcastle City Council.

The UK's first successful baby heart transplant survivor and gold medal winning transplant athlete, Kaylee Davidson-Olley, helped launch the 2015 Games in her home region earlier this month, along with other transplant athletes.

Basketball will make an appearance for the first time at the 2015 Games with the British Basketball League’s most successful team – the Newcastle Eagles – delivering the tournament. The Eagles are long-term supporters of the Children’s Heart Unit Fund (CHUF) at the Freeman Hospital. Paul Blake, MD of Newcastle Eagles, said:

“Having seen first-hand the critical work delivered by the team at the Freeman Hospital we were delighted to take on the task of delivering a basketball tournament at the British Transplant Games 2015 in NewcastleGateshead. It really is a great honour and a fantastic way to showcase transplant sport as well as raise awareness of organ donation.”

The British Transplant Games are organised by the charity Transplant Sport. The four-day event celebrates the many incredible achievements of transplant athletes, and highlights not just the benefits of transplantation, but the desperate need for organ donors in the North East and across the UK. Lynne Holt, Transplant Sport trustee and transplant co-ordinator at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital, said:

“Every 10 minutes, somebody’s name gets added to the donor waiting list whilst three people die every day because they can’t get the organ they need.

“In the North East alone there are currently more than 300 people waiting for transplants. On average 300 people in the region per year receive a transplant but sadly around 30 people die waiting. None of us would want to see a family member or friend suffer in this way and so I’d encourage everyone to sign up to the NHS Organ Donor Register, share their wishes with their family and potentially help make a difference.”

To join the NHS Organ Donor Register and help save lives TEXT: SAVE to 62323, call 0300 123 2323 or visit

Gateshead Council played a key role in attracting the Games to NewcastleGateshead. Gateshead Council’s cabinet member for culture, sport and leisure, Cllr Peter Mole, said:

“Gateshead has a long-established reputation for staging major sporting events and we are delighted and privileged to co-host the Westfield Health British Transplant Games NewcastleGateshead 2015. The athletes competing have had life-changing experiences and are a true inspiration to us all. We would encourage everyone to come along to the games and show their support for all these amazing competitors.”

Cllr Ged Bell, cabinet member for investment and development at Newcastle City Council, added:

“This is another great example of Newcastle and Gateshead working effectively together and demonstrates how influential we can be at attracting high-profile events.

“It is an incredible accolade for our region that the Games are coming to NewcastleGateshead and it seems very fitting that this year’s event will take place on the doorsteps of the Freeman Hospital, responsible for saving so many lives through its pioneering transplant surgery.

“I know that both athletes and visitors to the region will all receive a fantastic reception”.

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