LONDON – Durham Tees Valley Airport has been through a troubling few years where the airport has seen a year on year decrease in passenger numbers since 2006 when the NorthEast airport almost reached an annual total of 1 Million passengers.

Recent developments in 2018 and 2019 have seen control of the airport transfer from Peel Airports LTD to the local authorities.

This paves the way for a much brighter future for the airport as Tees Valley Mayor, Ben Houchen revealed his ambition to bring the airport back into public ownership and re-invigorate the airport, to better attract more airlines and increase connectivity.

Durham Tees Valley Airport

Teesside International

Peel Airports LTD took over the running of Teeside International in 2002, a decision was later made in 2004 to rename the airport Durham Tees Valley Airport.

Things began to look far better for the airport in the early 2000s, with low-cost carriers Wizz Air and Ryanair operating from the airport, along with daily flights to London Heathrow flown by BMI International.

However, the financial downturn of 2008 saw passenger numbers drop significantly from nearly 1 Million in 2006, to barely 192,000 in 2011.
In 2010 a passenger levy of £6 per passenger was introduced as passenger numbers continued to fall.

Peel Airports LTD sought to sell their stake in the airport in 2010.
Years passed by with very little interest, and plans began to emerge in 2014 to transform parts of the airport into housing developments.

The downturn continued year on year with the airport losing more and more passengers and KLM along with Eastern Airways remained the only scheduled carriers to serve the airport with flights to Amsterdam and Aberdeen.

KLM Fokker 70s at Durham Tees Valley Airport

New Ownership and a Bright Future

In 2017 the first Mayor for Durham and the Tees Valley, Conservative Ben Houchen, pledged to bring the airport back into public ownership as uncertainty about its future as an airport hung in the balance.

In December 2018 a deal with the previous owners, Peel Airport Limited, was finally agreed and was then subsequently ratified in January by local leaders to retake control of the airport.

The decision was also taken to rename the airport Teeside International Airport. A name which is widely recognised by many in the NorthEast, with the airport having bore the name from the 1960s till it was renamed in 2004.

Image Byline: Dave Charnley Photography.

Stobart Aviation To The Rescue

As if new ownership was not enough, the Mayor went on to announced at a press conference on March 14th that Stobart Aviation would take over the management and running of the airport along with their own investment with a 25% stake in the airport.

This represents a significant and positive step in the right direction for the airport.

Stobart Aviation has built an impressive reputation, having transformed the likes of London Southend Airport from a struggling airport in 2009 to handling over 1.4 Million passengers in 2018!

This number is set to grow further at London Southend in 2019 as the airport welcomes low-cost carrier Ryanair with the airline launching a vast number of new routes starting in April 2019.

Southend is not an isolated example, with Stobart Aviation also transforming Carlisle Lake District Airport from a fledgeling small airport to one which now boasts a new runway and terminal ready to accept their first services to Dublin, Belfast and London in July 2019.

Photo: Andreas Spaeth

With all of these things in place, the airport is well positioned to attract more airlines and services in the coming months and years.

How soon till we see a revival of passenger numbers back up to 2006 levels?

Only time will tell. The future is now looking much brighter for a Teesside International Airport, capable of delivering much-needed connections, and serving the Tees Valley region once again.