Aviation Minister Liz Sugg visited Leeds Bradford Airport yesterday to see work begin on a major new extension to the main terminal building.

Baroness Sugg said the investment - the airport's biggest to date - would strengthen its position as a "global gateway" to Yorkshire.

The extension is designed to improve passenger experiences - with larger immigration and baggage reclaim areas, better departure gate facilities, more shopping and food outlets and additional free seating.

Baroness Sugg said: "The development at Leeds Bradford Airport will not only further strengthen it as an important global gateway to Yorkshire, but will also provide passengers with an exceptional travelling experience to and from the region.

"Improvements for local communities as well as major infrastructure projects like investment at Leeds station, Northern Powerhouse Rail, HS2 and Heathrow expansion will continue to bring our country closer together, helping people move around more quickly and easily than ever before."

An airport spokesman said the progress continued to build on the major investment already going on in the area, including more than £170m being invested by Government in wider public transport improvements in the Leeds area.

He said by 2020, the Government will have pumped a record £13bn into transport investment across the North, including in developing major infrastructure projects such as HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail. A new runway at Heathrow Airport will also bring big benefits to Yorkshire - better connecting the region to the rest of the country, increasing regional exports and driving local growth.

Ilkley councillor Henri Murison, Director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, welcomed the new investment at the airport

He said: "Today I joined Baroness Sugg, business and civic leaders including Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Chair of the Combined Authority, as construction began on the new Leeds Bradford Airport terminal extension.

"Across the Northern Powerhouse, we are seeing private sector investment in airports, including here in Yorkshire and at Manchester Airport – the Heathrow of the North. This investment by Leeds Bradford Airport is a sign of their confidence and commitment to helping businesses here to grow and attract inward investment and will greatly enhance the passenger experience for those flying from Yorkshire.

"As we wait for the legal hurdles to be crossed in building the new terminal at London Heathrow itself, we also need to see progress on Northern Powerhouse Rail, key to opening up the city of Bradford to the rest of the North. With Leeds Bradford’s own train station opening in a few years, the runways we already have can give us key links to European cities and beyond."