Businesses across the region have today been told they can play a vital role in joining with Peel Airports in securing the long-term future of Durham Tees Valley Airport.
That was the message from Airport Chairman Robert Hough as he briefed local companies on the progress made in delivering the airport Master Plan and launched the ‘Flying for the Future’ campaign, aimed at galvanising support for Durham Tees Valley’s key role in the area’s economic progress and demonstrating to airlines that the Tees Valley is open for business.
The briefing, held to mark a series of milestones in delivering the business plans for the Airport, including the opening of a £250,000 terminal improvement programme, the arrival of Loganair and growth in capacity of 15,000 seats and access to even more routes on the flagship KLM service to the worldwide aviation network through Amsterdam, comes as the period of the Master Plan, launched in 2014, reaches the halfway stage.
Said Mr Hough “We all recognise that, in common with many other regional airports, the last decade has been extremely challenging for Durham Tees Valley. To date Peel Airports has invested £38million in meeting capital spending and operating losses, but I want to make it clear to the local business community—and indeed the region as a whole—that Peel Airports’ level of commitment to securing its future is clear.
“The Master Plan was designed to set out the blueprint for the airport to 2020 and beyond, capitalising Durham Tees Valley’s large landholdings—a benefit few other airports enjoy—to generate further funding sources which can support air operations.
Now we are at the half-way stage of that initial phase we can point to real progress, not least the agreement reached with our local authority partners to ensure that the Airport remains open for at least eight years providing certain financial criteria are met.
“To guarantee continuity for any period is rare for an airport operator but it demonstrates our belief that the business plan is moving us in the right direction.
“For example, we have obtained the outline planning permission for the developments on the Northside of the Airport which will generate funding which will all be reinvested back into Airport operations as well as delivering over a £1m of benefits to the local community.
“We have made real progress on another objective of the business plan…developing our general aviation activity including the launch of our in-house Consort ground handling service … as well as maintaining the scheduled services needed by the local business community and now, of course, welcoming the recent arrival of Loganair and Super Break, offering the prospect of further services and holiday destinations.
“Today our business guests, together with our partner airlines, have seen the latest example of our continuing investment with the opening of the much improved and modernised departure lounge, providing state-of-the-art facilities such as free unlimited Wi-Fi, together with designated work stations and charging points, and improved retail services under our new ‘Xpress’ brand.
“Now, at this important stage in delivering the continuing progress which can secure the Airport’s long-term future, we are asking through the ‘Flying for the Future’ campaign for local businesses—and the community as a whole—to join with us to show their support, promote its use and work with us to make the case for new routes.”
Benedicte Duval, General Manager for UK and Ireland, KLM said:
“Air France KLM has a long-established and positive relationship with Durham Tees Valley Airport and we are delighted to see the major improvements in the departure lounge facilities which will certainly be welcomed by our customers.
“These improvements come at a significant time for our three times a day service from Durham Tees Valley to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. We have recently introduced new Embraer 175s aircraft on the route, delivering both increased capacity and a high-quality flying experience.
“We know that access to customers and markets worldwide is very important to companies in the Tees Valley and wider region. Our service provides access to our global network of over 150 destinations worldwide. We continue to add new destinations to our network with the latest including Mauritius, Mumbai, San Jose, Fortelaza and a third daily flight to New York.
“We welcome the launch of the Flying for the Future campaign. Close partnerships between stakeholders, businesses and airports gives us real confidence and it is clear from today that there is a strong level of support for DTVA in the region.”
As part of the Flying for the Future campaign, the airport has published a supporting document Your Questions Answered to tell Durham Tees Valley’s story to date, explain the wider context in which the airport sits and answer the questions commonly put to the airport. The document is available on line at http://dtva.info.