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Good news for Nissan in Washington as firm backs plant

Simon Jack

BBC Business Editor

This is good news. For today, Nissan workers can breathe a sigh of relief that Sunderland has been recognised as an important production facility for the future.

However, lots of questions remain. Nissan has identified Japan, North America and China as "core" markets - not Europe. In Europe, Nissan's alliance partner Renault will assume a greater role and influence in Europe at a time when the global car market will have to make very aggressive cost reductions.

The question may arise in the future - who is really in charge in Europe? If it's Renault, what does that mean for future investment in a post-Brexit UK? Nissan alone said it had capacity to make seven million cars when it only needs capacity for five million.

Only plants that can demonstrate an ability to be ruthless about cost will continue to attract investment. As Professor David Bailey tweeted this morning: "Once again, the workforce will have to pull out all the stops to work flexibly to get costs down".

So, some belt tightening ahead, but workers in Sunderland will be thankful they are not in the same position as their Spanish and Thai counterparts, who are seeing plants closed down.

Metro driver says trains are 'eerily quiet'

Craig Pearson

A driver on the Tyne and Wear Metro has described working during lockdown as "very strange", and paid tribute to key workers who have to rely on public transport.

The network recently received a second government bail out to keep it running while passenger numbers are low due to coronavirus.

Craig Pearson, who has been driving trains for seven years, said the past few weeks had been "challenging but also rewarding because I feel like I am playing my part in helping the country at a time of crisis".

The 37-year-old, from Gateshead, said: "There are many NHS staff and other essential workers relying on the Metro... we get a lot of supermarket workers still travelling too."

However, with people being told only to travel when it is essential, he described it as "eerily quiet".

He said: "For us it’s a case of the same routine of being in the cab by ourselves, but the level of quiet we see at 04:00 and 05:00 when we start taking the first trains out on the system is like that right across the day.

"It’s a strange thing for us to see.”

Coronavirus: Clap for carers projected on to Angel of the North
Artist Ian Berry created the images to thank key workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

Newcastle Airport announces flights will return

Scheduled flights are to resume from Newcastle Airport from 1 June, it has announced.

To help this, there will be a number of measures to provide a safe environment for passengers and staff.

These include social distancing, face masks worn in the terminal, an intensive cleaning regime, and there will be no shops or restaurants open.

Newcastle International Airport
Newcastle International Airport

Initially, there will be Loganair flights to Aberdeen and KLM flights to Amsterdam, and in the second half of the month Easyjet flights to Belfast and Air France to Paris.

Further routes are scheduled to begin operating throughout July and August.