Eastern Europe: Pt 1 – Woolsington (Newcastle Airport)

Our next big adventure would take us from Newcastle to the Polish city of Krakow, over 1300 miles away in Eastern Europe. So in the early hours of the 01st June, we left for Woolsington, a small village home to Newcastle’s International Airport…

Woolsington:

Status: City of Newcastle District, Tyne & Wear (historically Northumberland), Village, England

Date: 01/06/2015

Travel: Car, Jet2 (Newcastle – Krakow)

Eating & Sleeping: Airport Bars

Attractions: Newcastle International Airport etc

Wool 1

By 4am we had arrived at the Airport, which looks very different now to when it originally opened in 1935, as Woolsington Aerodrome. The very 1st service to ever call here didn’t start/finish at Newcastle, it was a through service from Croydon in South London to the Scottish City of Perth, via Newcastle.

Like many civilian airfields, Woolsington was taken over by the RAF during WWII, thanks to its convenient location on the edge of the North Sea. It wouldn’t be until 1946 that the RAF would vacate the premises, and over the following decades the number of local flights would only increase, particularly to the British Islands around Jersey, Guernsey, and the Isles of Man/Wight.

1952 saw the 1st International flights, which included the Irish Capital Dublin, which had been part of the UK until the 1920’s. Expansion continued, with a full Airport Terminal opening in 1967 and Harold Wilson (1916 – 1995, British Prime Minister twice, 1964 – 1970 & 1974 – 1976) present to officially open it. The Airport would soon be serving destinations such as The Netherlands, Germany, and a large portion of mainland Europe, with so many passengers coming through (2 million by 1993) that the Terminal was upgraded and expanded to cope. In 2014 flights started to Newark Liberty Airport in New York City, and the Airport now serves at least 3 continents (Europe, North America & Asia/The Middle East).

Wool 2

Airport Terminals always offer some great views over the runway, made all the more impressive as this was just an hour after sunrise. Various aircraft were awaiting their turn to jet off somewhere exotic, and we were relaxing with a nice hot, unhealthy snack!

In the distance you can see the distinctive Air Traffic Control Tower, officially known as the Emirates Tower after Emirates Airline who have flown from Newcastle to Dubai in the UAE since 2007. Standing almost 150 ft tall, the Tower is twice the height of local landmark the “Angel of the North”, a large Iron sculpture created by Anthony Gormley in Gateshead, the town adjacent to Newcastle itself.

Various companies are based in Newcastle, or operate flights from here as a regional hub. These include Jet2, 1 of various budget airlines founded in the last 2 decades, who offer low cost flights around Europe, and as we found out, to Krakow in Poland!

Aside from budget airlines, the national carriers of multiple countries, from British Airways Flights to London Heathrow, to Air France/Aer Lingus to Paris/Dublin respectively, can also be seen in the skies around Woolsington.

Wool 3

By 7am, we were in the skies above Northumberland, enjoying some stunning views of the local countryside, and the Northumbrian/Tyneside coastline. The passenger next to the window on my row was kind enough to take this picture for me as we ascended, looking out across the city of Newcastle, with the River Tyne snaking its way towards the North Sea through it’s centre.

Newcastle is on the left of the River, with the aforementioned town of Gateshead on the right. If you look closely just past the 1st bend in the river you can just make out a few of the 7 different bridges which cross the Tyne here, which have made Newcastle so famous. You can find out more in my other posts about Newcastle here, Gateshead here, and the Angel of the North here.

We settled back to enjoy the flight, and 2.5 hours later we would be landing in the Polish City of Krakow…

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