A flying school that went into administration last year with debts of about £200,000 has been rescued by a leading businessman.

Samson Aviation, owned by Morpeth millionaire Martin Ballinger, has bought the assets of Newcastle Aero Club.

The company has paid an undisclosed sum to buy six of the seven aircraft owned by the club and equipment in the flying school, restaurant and bar. Airport bosses, who had impounded the club's planes last November over unpaid landing fees, said they hoped to see it develop into a major centre for aviation training.

Samson has given some of the previous club employees their jobs back and also intends to revamp the 1930s terminal building as a social club for airport employees.

Mr Ballinger, an accountant, set up the Samson Jet Centre ten years ago at Newcastle following an award-winning career in public transport.

He turned Go-Ahead from a small bus company in Gateshead into a flourishing plc, valued at more than £650m. He retired as chief executive of Go-Ahead at the beginning of the year.

Graeme Mason, airport's planning, development and facilities manager, said: "Newcastle International is delighted with the outcome of the Aeroclub Administration Order.

"It has enabled the future of flight training at Newcastle to be put on a sound financial footing.

"We see that facility, together with the existing Newcastle Aviation Academy, becoming an important centre for aviation staff training in the North of England. And, of course, we all look forward to the airport staff membership of the old terminal restaurant and bar."

Club administrator Mike Pott, partner at Newcastle accountants RMT, said: "We are absolutely delighted that the administration has allowed a flying training facility to remain at Newcastle."

The club, which opened in November 1925, trained former England rugby player and RAF officer Tony Underwood.