FEDEX, the world's largest express transportation company, has announced it has expanded its operations at Newcastle International Airport, as export and import demands grow in the region.

FedEx Express has moved into its own modern facility at the airport, equipped with the latest scanning technology, allowing on-site sorting and package scanning.

The new facility supports an upgrade to a FedEx-branded B737-400 aircraft, which is three times the size of its current ATR72 aircraft, adding approximately 149,000-lbs of additional inbound and outbound capacity per week.

A new weekly outbound flight will be added to the current flight schedule, meaning five outbound flights and four inbound flights will operate to and from Newcastle Airport.

This investment creates 17 new jobs for the region, growing the team from four to 21 employees.

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According to FedEx, the North East of England is one of the fastest-growing economies in the country and "an excellent location for businesses to locate and grow".

It is well connected to global markets, the company said, and in the year to March 2019 the region exported £59.6 billion worth of goods overseas due to a growing international demand for high-quality, innovative products.

Edward Clarke, Vice President Operations UK at FedEx Express, said: "We are excited about our latest investment at Newcastle International Airport. It reflects our ambition to continuously expand and improve our business, and helps support our customers in the North East of England grow their businesses within the region and around the world.

"Our new facility also provides our team members with a more modern working environment and a true home for our growing company."

Leon McQuaid, Director of Aviation Development at Newcastle Airport, said: "FedEx are a key business partner at Newcastle International Airport, and we welcome its investment and commitment to the airport and to the region. By increasing import and export capability, FedEx is supporting growing demand from North East businesses, and in turn helping to generate additional jobs.

"This investment highlights the strategic importance of Newcastle International Airport nationally and we look forward to our continued strong working relationship with FedEx."