By Kris Jepson
Newcastle International bosses have told ITV News Tyne Tees the airport will be 'crucial' to regional economy when the North East exits the coronavirus lockdown.
The Planning and Corporate Affairs Director at the airport, Graeme Mason, said "the airport is a crucial part of the regional infrastructure both during a crisis, but then obviously when the recovery comes, the airport is going to be one of the most fundamental points of the plan to recover the region".
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The airport, which usually contributes more than £1.1 billion to the North East economy, has grounded 98 per cent of its flights since the government announced the UK-wide lockdown.
During this period a skeletal service has continued to operate, but in oder to provide transportation for essential services during the pandemic crisis effort.
The airport supports more than 18,000 jobs directly and indirectly through its supply chain.
One business in its supply chain is Hart Doors Systems Ltd, who produce snd manufacture unique doors, which can be used in airports and other important facilities.
The company has continued to serve its clients, by splitting the shift patterns in two, allowing staff to work at social distance.
Contracts Manager, Kyle Pendergood, told ITV News "As a business we’ve got key sites that still need attending. We’ve got a lot of waste sites, food places and a lot of places that still need that upkeep of their doors servicing, so for us it’s been key and that’s been recognised to our clients as well, because we’ve been available to attend when required."
Managing Director, Nick Hart, said the survival of the airport is vital to local firms like his.