Newcastle Airport will receive a government grant of up to £8million to help protect local jobs and save the economy.

The funding, announced by transport secretary Grant Shapps last week, comes after the airport unveiled plans for holidaymakers to be tested for coronavirus before their departure.

Amid rising health and safety concerns of flying abroad, the airport launched its Covid testing programme for passengers set to fly to countries which require proof of a negative test.

Passengers flying to certain destinations will be tested for Covid around 72 hours before departure with test results coming back within two days.

The scheme, which will cost each passenger £99, will be carried out by a qualified clinician and analysed in a Newcastle-based laboratory.

The airport has collaborated with two local Covid-19 testing companies as those tested by the NHS or part of a mass testing scheme are not given the required certificate of proof needed by some countries, the airport said.

Testing will take place at the Premium Meet and Greet building located on site at Newcastle Airport.

Richard Knight, chief operating officer at Newcastle Airport, said: “Spain, the Canary Islands and several other destinations require passengers to have a negative PCR Covid-19 test no more than 72 hours before arrival.

“We want to make it as easy as possible for our passengers to travel to their destination. We have worked hard to develop a relationship with two highly experienced and well-regarded local companies with Covid-19 testing facilities.

“Unlike postal tests, the tests provided by NPH Group and MDNA Life Sciences are administered by trained clinicians which decreases the likelihood of an inconclusive result. Passengers can receive their certified result within 36-48 hours which, if negative, allows them to travel to their chosen destination.”

Hexham’s MP Guy Opperman praised the funding and new testing plans.

He said: “This additional funding support will help protect jobs during these challenging times.

"Along with the government’s new testing strategy, I hope that this funding marks a real turning point for Newcastle Airport – which supports so many jobs and businesses in our community."