BOSSES at Newcastle Airport have admitted it will ‘take some time’ to rebuild following the coronavirus pandemic.

A slump in business caused by the Covid-19 outbreak has seen the transport hub increase parking charges to make ends meet, with more price rises expected to be considered.

But a recovery plan is in place, with chiefs already indicating to creditors when they can expected loan payments to restart.

A spokeswoman for the airport said: “Newcastle International is a strong regional airport and is well equipped to withstand this challenging period.

“Flights have now started to return but the recovery is likely to take some time.

“There will inevitably be a short term impact upon investment, however, we are confident that in due course our long-term plans can be progressed.”

The North East’s seven councils – Northumberland, County Durham, Sunderland, South Tyneside, North Tyneside, Newcastle and Gateshead – collectively own a 51 per cent stake in the airport.

Known as the ‘LA7’, the group signed a loan agreement worth £67.665 million in 2012/13.

Repayments are made in instalments due every six months, but according to a report for Durham County Council’s Audit Committee, these are expected to be halted until October 2022.

It added that although the latest accounts are not yet available, at the end of 2018 the airport had reported a post-tax profit of £7.435 million.

Last month finance chiefs at Sunderland City Council insisted there was ‘no question’ over the airport’s future.