Durham Tees Valley Airport new potential owner is a candidate for their first mayor, after showing intentions to buy the airport. The Conservative candidate, Ben Houchen, says that the £15 million annual mayor budget will help him to fund his purchase of the airport back into public ownership.
Mr Houchen said: “For too long, Teesside Airport has been allowed to decline. Fresh thinking is needed, and a pragmatic and practical approach needs to start by acquiring the airport in order to give it new leadership.”
Currently, the airport is owned by Peel Airport who possess 89% while the rest of the ownership is held by the Tees Valley council.
This could mean great news for the airport given that passenger numbers have been in decline recently. An astonishing 860,000 passengers have been lost from 2006 when the number of travellers stood at around 1 million. 2015’s figures showed a meer 140,000 passengers use the facilities. Hopefully the change of hands will generate some more interest!
The first responsibility for the new mayor will be to increase economic regeneration. Mr Houchen, who is the Conservative leader on Stockton council, said:
“The new devolution deal gives a large annual cash sum to the mayor, which can also be used for additional borrowing.
“There are many calls on these resources, but a rejuvenated airport needs to be one of the top transport priorities.”
A group was even set up in 2015 called “Save Teesside Airport” after the plight of the airport caused such a huge concern to the area and its local economy. Peel airport’s current plan to increase numbers focuses on expanding facilities at the airports while also building more houses in the local area. This is also combined with the added efforts to reinstate routes from the airport. Regular flights to Schiphol, Amsterdam, as well as Aberdeen by 2030.
Mr Houchen said: “The current airport owners have their own ideas for development on the site but our local authorities have lost interest in forcing through a change in the decline of air services.”
Let’s hope that the new changes bring a positive change to the airport!