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Report calls for North-East flights to New York
DIRECT flights to New York and a North-East “Oystercard” are among the suggestions for boosting the region’s economy contained in an influential report.
The study, commissioned by the North East Chamber of Commerce and produced by think tank IPPR North, also recommended a single regional transport authority modeled on Transport for London.
Faraway so close: the North East as an international gateway, states that business travellers should be able to take a direct flight from Newcastle to New York’s Newark Liberty Airport.
The report reveals the strengths of the North-East’s transport links for manufacturing, especially the regions ports.
However, it also calls for better take up by business of digital and broadband connections.
Ed Cox, director of IPPR North, said: “The North-East has huge potential both to drive northern economic prosperity but also national economic growth. But to do that we need to enhance the North-East’s business connectivity with global markets.
“Newcastle’s International Airport could connect businesses across the North-East with new customers and new business collaborators across North America."
Mr Cox said Transport for London was a "perfect blueprint" for the North-East to take more power and control over the way transport investment was spent.
He added: "We need to think big, be bold and work towards a North-East-wide Oystercard so that someone could take buses and trains from South Shields to Middlesbrough all on the same smart ticket.”
The call for better links with the US comes after the country was ousted as the number one purchaser of the region’s products.
NECC Chief Executive, James Ramsbotham, said: “Our transport infrastructure provides businesses with international gateways to the world.
“This report will undoubtedly help improve our understanding of how businesses interact with these gateways and what policy makers can do to maximise these crucial links to existing and emerging markets.”
The report revealed that one in four businesses in the region did not use the internet.
It also showed that the region struggled to retain IT and telecommunications university graduates, many of whom moved to London and the South-East.
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