1. ITV Report

New ownership for Norwich Airport - but will it mean new flights and new destinations for passengers?

Norwich International has been taken over. Photo: ITV News Anglia

Norwich International has been taken over by the group which already owns Coventry and Exeter airports.

With the recent rise in flights from the region's other airports at Stansted and Southend, the company's predicting a significant increase in passenger numbers in Norwich.

The man behind the purchase is self-made millionaire Sir Peter Rigby, hoping Norwich can grow in the same way that Southend Airport has since being taken over by the Stobart Group.

Sir Peter Rigby (left) has funded the purchase. Credit: ITV News Anglia

"I think the real lesson for regional airports is for the region itself to recognise the importance of the airport in its transport strategy.

They need to support it and for us collectively to raise the profile of regional airports with the Government.

Right now there's too much Government attention on the south east at the expense of other regional airports."

– Sir Peter Rigby

Today, the new owners wouldn't reveal the cost of the takeover and they gave little away about potential new destinations.

However, they did say that within five years they hoped the number of passengers using the airport every year would rise to 600,000.

There were 470,000 passengers who passed through the airport last year.

Norwich Airport currently provides flights to several European destinations. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Among the domestic routes Norwich serves are Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Manchester - with onward flights to Belfast.

There's a four-times a day service from Norwich to Amsterdam offering international connections in Holland - and there are several other European holiday destinations operating at the moment.

Passengers hope a change in ownership will bring about a change in strategy.

"We want a better choice of destination and perhaps more flights - to make it more convenient for people to fly from their local airport rather than travel all the way down to Heathrow or Gatwick or even Stansted."

– Rita Collins, Passenger

The Chief Executive of the airport, Andrew Bell, says that there are plans to try and push for new destinations in Spain and Portugal, including Alicante and Faro, and direct business flights to Dublin could also be in the pipeline.

The new owners face a big task to increase passenger numbers. Credit: ITV News Anglia

At 10:30 this morning, Norwich Airport resembled a ghost town.

The task facing the new owners is to get the check ins as busy then as they are earlier and later in the day.

Click below to watch a report from ITV News Anglia's Malcolm Robertson