‘Sobering reality’ as vote over future of Durham Tees Valley Airport looms
Durham Tees Valley Airport could close down if a takeover plan is rejected later this month.
According to infrastructure giant Peel Group, which owns the airport, the site’s future will be “extremely uncertain” if the the leaders of the five Tees Valley Councils vote against a plan to bring it back into into public ownership.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen proposed the £40m deal, which was welcomed by Peel chairman Robert Hough.
Mr Hough said: “Despite our best efforts single-handedly, we have been unable to make the progress that we would have liked at Durham Tees Valley Airport in recent years.”
Speaking of “clearly uncertain and challenging times” for the future of the airport, he explained: “We have been working steadfastly with the Mayor to ensure a smooth transition should a deal be concluded.
“We recognise and welcome the efforts made by Tees Valley Mayor, Ben Houchen, to create a business plan designed to return the airport to growth collaboratively and to safeguard the economic benefits to the regional economy and its communities.”
Without the deal, Mr Hough said the airport’s future will be “extremely uncertain” after 2021.
Mayor Houchen commented: “Since I announced that I had reached a deal with Peel, I have been inundated with questions from local people asking what will happen to our airport if the Labour leaders reject the deal.
“It is no secret that beyond 2021 – just 24 months away – Peel have no obligation to keep our airport open.”
He continued: “The sobering reality is that the vote on January 24 is a vote to either keep the airport open, or to close it. It’s as simple as that and there is no other option.”
Failure to safeguard the airport’s future, Mayor Houchen said, would “deprive the region of a significant economic asset, warning: “History will not be kind to those who let emotions and personal politics get in the way of what the people voted for and rightly demand.”
The plan is due to be published in full on January 16 and discussed the following day by the Tees Valley Combined Authority, ahead of the vote on the 24th.