Teeside International or Durham Tees Valley?

By | Category: Travel destinations

can the airport attract new airlines and/or new routes?

This is the question that people are being asked to vote or comment upon by the Mayor of Tees Valley, Ben Houchen.

Nine days ago he announced that he had agreed to buy the airport from the current owners, Peel Holdings for £35 million. In addition he has spent another $5 million buying adjacent land to stop houses being built there.

Forget for a moment whether local government should be in the business of owning and running airports. The money to purchase the airport will be coming from the government allocated budget rather than there being a cutback in local services to pay for it.

It was part of Mr Houchen’s election manifesto to buy the airport claiming that an international airport was the missing piece of the jigsaw in developing economic activity in the area. At pesent its great if you want to fly to Aberdeen or Amsterdam. Anywhere else and you need to pick another airport

Now he has launched a poll to see what the airport should be called. But voters only have a choice of two names. It will either be Durham Tees Valley Airport or the old name which was Teeside International Airport. You can vote by clicking here or going to https://www.backbensplan.com/what-should-we-call-our-airport/

If the purchase (and re-naming) goes through, a hard task lies ahead. Last year saw just 128,007 passengers against a peak of over 900,000 in 2006. Airports as significant internationally as Stornoway, Kirkwall and Scatsta saw more passengers. Sumburgh saw twice as many, Norwich four times as many and Southend eight times as many.

The task in attracting more passengers starts with encouraging more airlines and justifying why there should be flights when Newcastle, Humberside and Leeds Bradford Airport are so close. Rumour has it that the Stobart Group – which performed a turnaround at Southend and may do the same at Carlisle Lake District if it resolves the internal politics that has riven the company – will run it operationally. If true that could kick-start airport’s growth.

Attracting new airlines means making financial contributions to their marketing and waiting a few years before seeing any results. It means bearing the £2.5 million annual losses even longer.

How deep are the mayor’s pockets?

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