Durham Tees Valley Guide Home

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Airport code: MME
+44 (0)132 533 2811
6 miles from Darlington
Airport Postcode: DL2 1LU
This guide has been developed to provide a handy reference for those travelling to, from or through Durham Tees Valley Airport.
The airport provides a wide range of facilities including those for business, children and disabled travellers. Public transportation to and from the airport is reliable and frequent with a choice of trains, coaches, taxis and car hire. Its one terminal transports over 140,000 passengers each year to various destinations in Europe. Those wishing to drive to the airport will find it easily accessible and well sign posted from the access roads. The airport offers a range of valet, short and long stay parking.

Staying at Durham Tees Valley? Book a hotel!

Whether you have an early flight or have to stay at the airport during the night, airport hotels are always the best option. Find hotel deals at Durham Tees Valley on our hotels page, and start your holiday now!

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Travel Extras

Book Your Transport Book online with National Express coaches to and from Durham Tees Valley and travel across all the UK! Book your Airport Parking Save up to 78% on your long stay parking costs by comparing all airport parking providers and booking online!
Terminal Information Find out what shops, restaurants, bars and facilities that the terminal at Durham Tees Valley has to offer. Smart Shopper Make the most of duty free by planning your airport shopping online.

    Red Arrows display set to wow at Durham Tees Valley airport

    There was a huge amount of disappointment last year when Skylive was postponed in the wake of the tragic events at Shoreham Airshow. However, fear not; the airshow taking place at Durham Tees Valley airport has been rearranged for 28th May this year. Not only is the airshow returning, but it’s coming back bigger and better than ever. Headlining the event will be none other than the Red Arrows, who will also be available on the ground to greet the public.

     

    Joining the Red Arrows display will be three of the most prestigious RAF shows, including the Falcons parachute display team. The event organisers have been working very hard to make this event one to remember and it is very special to the airport in general. They told Gazette live: “Given the airport’s history as an important air base during World War Two, it is particularly significant that the Lancaster, Spitfire and Hurricane from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight will be taking part.”

     

    With thousands of spectators already set to attend the event and further attractions still to be announced, it looks as if this event is not going to be one to miss! Tickets for 5-15 year olds start at just £5.50 for the entire day, so make sure you have a look at the Skylive website for all the details.

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    Spain is top in the Northeast

    Spain, including the Balearic and Canary islands, is the most popular flight destination for travellers in the northeast of England, according to local newspaper, the Sunday Sun. The news means that the growing popularity of resorts in Turkey and Eastern Europe is not affecting the sale of tickets on more traditional routes, such as Alicante, Tenerife, or Palma de Mallorca.

    However, the statistics, which were obtained from the Civil Aviation Authority, indicate that Amsterdam, not Spain, was the most travelled-to destination in 2010. The Sunday Sun, while acknowledging Amsterdam’s popularity, did not reserve many column inches for the Dutch city. “We’ve discounted Amsterdam”, explained Coreena Ford, journalist at the Sunday Sun, “because around 75% (of people) who journey to Schiphol Airport don’t stay long”.

    Schiphol, with its six runways, offers routes to many global destinations, including Hong Kong, Adelaide in Australia, Washington in the USA, and even the village of Alluitsup Paa in Greenland. The airport is particularly important for people in the northeast, as resident airline, KLM, recently expanded its schedules to include extra flights between Durham and Amsterdam Schiphol.

    Alicante in southeastern Spain received 35,346 holidaymakers from Durham Tees Valley during 2010, making it the second most popular destination after Amsterdam. Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands, was 445% more popular in 2010 than during the previous year, while the number of people choosing Palma for their holiday fell by 32% over the figures for 2009.

    Robin Tudor, PR chief at Peel Airports, said that Mediterranean resorts are “always popular”. Around 750,000 people travelled to Spain from Newcastle and Durham airports in 2010.

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    KLM adds homeland flights

    Throughout summer 2011, KLM, one of the largest carriers in the world, will operate three flights a day from Durham Tees Valley Airport to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport in Holland. The route, which has been described as a “major benefit” to northeast business, is being sold on the strength of Schiphol’s links to long-haul destinations, such as New York in the US, Frankfurt in Germany, and Hong Kong in China.

    Durham, now one of the smallest hubs in the country, following a prolonged passenger exodus, has engineered a remarkable recovery, from an airport that could lose 63,000 customers in just 12 months, to one that can compete with its rival, Newcastle Airport. The Darlington hub increased customer numbers by almost 50% in January, and 24% in February, when compared to the same months in 2010, effectively ending a five-year run of bad luck. Whether the rise is sustainable has yet to be seen, but KLM’s recent expansion will be seen as a much-needed vote of confidence in the airport’s future.

    Mike Morton, chief at Durham Airport, explained the attraction of KLM’s route from the northeast to Amsterdam Schiphol, “We know that the business community sees Amsterdam as the first choice for access to the worldwide flights network”. Durham’s website claims that a link to Schiphol is “vital” for local companies, such as Casper Shipping, who have interests in Asian and North American markets.

    KLM’s new summer schedule includes a flight to Schiphol at 06.15, allowing tourists and executives to enjoy day trips to the Dutch capital. Later connections depart at 09.20, and then four hours later, at 13.45. KLM’s blue and white planes return to the northeast at 08.40, 13.05 and 22.05,

    Henri Hourcade, UK chief at Air France-KLM, said that the airline “very much values” passengers from Durham.

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    Passenger numbers in freefall

    Whilst several UK airports defied the odds (and volcanic activity) to post growth in 2010, a far greater number succumbed to snowfall and the recession, and ended the year in a disappointing slump. However, few airports can claim to have suffered as much as Durham Tees Valley. The Darlington hub has lost almost 700,000 passengers since 2006, including 63,000 in 2010 alone.

    In terms of passenger numbers, Durham Tees Valley is now languishing in the doldrums, surrounded by ‘island and highland’ airports, such as St. Mary’s on the Isle of Scilly, Scatsta in the Shetlands, and Kirkwall on the Orkney Islands. The hub’s closest rival on the UK mainland is Blackpool Airport, which endured a 15% plunge in passenger numbers in 2010, compared to 22% at Durham.

    Durham is dangerously close to undoing everything that bosses have worked for over the past 35 years. The loss of a further 13,000 customers in 2011 would return passenger numbers to levels unseen since 1975, when the airport was known by its original moniker, Teesside International Airport. Back then, traffic figures were buoyed by a BMI route to Heathrow. The route was pulled in 2009, however, forty years after it originally began.

    The recent collapse of Flyglobespan and tour operator, Goldtrail, caused significant problems for Durham, but the departure of bmibaby in 2006, Wizz Air in 2008, and Ryanair in 2011, sent the airport’s debts into a spiral. The poorly received Passenger Facility Fee, essentially, a £6 levy for ‘permission’ to pass through airport security, was the inevitable consequence of Durham’s terminal lack of popularity, and a desperate bid to raise an extra £500,000 for new developments.

    Despite the grim outlook, officials at Durham Airport remain cautiously optimistic about the hub’s future. Expansions from Thomson Airways and Atlantic Holidays will add extra routes to Tenerife in the Canary Islands, Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt, and the Portuguese archipelago, Madeira. The uptake of tickets on routes hosted by Turkish holiday firm, Holidays 4U, are also said to have "improved" in recent months.

    Local Tory MP, James Wharton, noted that "good transport links," including Durham Airport, are "vital," if the northeast economy is to recover from the recession.

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    Desperate Durham adds £6 levy

    From November 15 2010, visitors passing through security at Durham Tees Valley Airport will be charged for the privilege.

    Durham, the eighth smallest airport in the UK by total passenger numbers, is operated by Peel Airports Ltd., which is in turn owned by two partners, The Peel Group and Vancouver Airport Services (VAS).

    The Passenger Facility Fee (PFF) is a moneymaking ploy designed to shore up Durham’s finances over the difficult winter season.

    Local newspaper GazetteLive claims that the north-eastern airport has lost more than 30% of its annual passengers, and is now “battling for survival” against its rival, Newcastle International.

    The increasing number of routes available from Manchester and Edinburgh must also be having an effect on Durham’s fortunes, as many holidaymakers are prepared to travel long distances to find a cheap flight.

    Adults will be charged £6 when the PFF comes into effect, whilst children from 3-15 years old will have to part with £3.

    Given Durham’s flagging popularity, the scheme’s success hinges entirely on the loyalty of regular customers, as the plan can only make the airport look unattractive to people who traditionally fly from Newcastle.

    However, local councillors believe that Durham’s ‘loyal’ travellers will flee like rats from a sinking ship when the PFF is introduced.

    Responding to the scheme’s critics, the CEO of Peel Airports, Craig Richmond, said “No one likes being asked to pay money, but I hope the whole community will recognise that it is something we have to do if the airport is able to move forward.”

    Peel is attempting to set up new contracts with its partner VAS in a bid to lure new business to Durham Tees Valley. GazetteLive cites the example of new routes to airports in Cyprus, which could be facilitated by VAS’s existing presence on the island.

    Whilst the PFF might seem like a novel way of extracting money from travellers’ wallets, the scheme is not a new one, having been championed by Norwich, Blackpool and Newquay airports in recent years.

    Durham could make a tidy £500,000 a year from the PFF if the airport can convince local residents to support their local airport rather than going wherever the tickets are cheapest.

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