NEWCASTLE Airport is making its case as an international hub at a three-day conference in Asia.
The Routes Asia conference in the Philippines attracts senior decision makers from more than a dozen airlines.
Newcastle Airport corporate affairs executive manager Stephen Crowe said it gave the Williamtown hub's leaders a chance to make their case realistically to the people who could help shape its future.
“Attending events of this global scale will take us closer to connecting our region to more international markets," Mr Crowe said.
"We will be meeting with the airline industry’s leading players to build our connections and discuss route development opportunities."
The airport ran a seasonal Virgin Australia service between Newcastle and Auckland that ended earlier this year that Newcastle Airport mooted as a success.
Airport chief executive Dr Peter Cock said the Hunter missed its share of inbound tourism due to the requirement of a five-hour round trip from Sydney Airport by road or a one-stop connection.
Newcastle Airport CEO, Dr Peter Cock, stressed the importance of direct international services for the region.
"A majority of the Asian visitors that do visit our region only stay a relatively short time," he said.
“Our recent Auckland – Newcastle direct service demonstrated that not only did a large number of travellers visit our region for the first time, visitors stayed longer than normal.
"This means more money spent in our hotels, restaurants, cafes, shops and on experiences."
Dr Cock said the airport's recent bid to extend its runway was also a key component of its international expansion in the longer term.
“It allows us to fly further and seek new markets such as Singapore and Korea," he said.
"The inability to accommodate larger aircraft limits our industries and sees these opportunities go to the other states."
The Routes Asia conference in Cebu ends on Tuesday.