PEOPLE who believe in aliens have inundated an airport switchboard to report seeing strange lights in the sky - not realising the UFO is a futuristic new control tower.

Newcastle International Airport chiefs are receiving weekly calls from superstitious folk who have spotted something strange in the sky.

Many of the calls have actually turned out to be the airport's very own new air-traffic control tower, beginning to take shape after work began in May last year.

Callers, bemused by the stylish, twisting lattice building have called airport chiefs to report it as a UFO.

However, they are quickly reassured that it is the new 8.2m air-traffic control tower which upon completion will be 45-metres high.

Others are easily explained away by police helicopter activity or military operations in the area.

Newcastle International's head of operations Chris Davis said: "We do provide an explanation to every person who contacts us, usually by examining radar data from the time of the sighting.

Airport spokeswoman Wendy Dawley said: "The vast majority of people who contact us are not suggesting that the sighting is a UFO in the sense of it being from another world, but more often than not it's just puzzled them as to what the object could be.

"Serious claims of a UFO sighting are few and far between - the last one was off the coast at Tynemouth back in August last year.

"The latest enquiry, just last week, was from a lady who said - I'm sure it's nothing, but I've just seen a bright light above my house, it spun round, got brighter, fizzed and emitted strange blue smoke before disappearing.

"We checked it out and it turned out to have been the police helicopter.