OK, I admit… in the grand scheme of things, Durham Tees Valley Airport (EGNV/MME) in North East England isn’t a big fish. But it’s my home airport and the one I fly my little Piper Tomahawk from, so bear with me.
Durham Tees Valley, commonly known as Teesside Airport, was – until 2006 – a rising star. It had investment from Peel Holdings, who pumped a stack of money in and attracted a number of airlines, including Ryanair, Wizz Air, ThomsonFly, and based aircraft from bmibaby (later replaced by Fly Globespan). This was in addition to the regular schedules from British Midland, Eastern Airways, KLM and more. It was operating at almost 1 million passengers per year.
Then things started to go bad.
The based airlines left, British Midland dropped the London Heathrow route, Ryanair stopped and started various routes, as did Eastern Airways and Aer Lingus Regional. We lost charter routes, including popular Turkish routes with the demise of Goldtrail and Holidays4U. In 2011 we had less than 200,000 passengers, and the airport was forced to introduce an extra passenger fee to prop up the finances (the death knell for Ryanair, who don’t like airports that charge extra).
At the end of 2011, Peel Airports, who were largely owned by Vancouver Airport Services, put the airport up for sale.
But yesterday, it was announced that a separate company had been set up within the group, which had bought the shares back from Vancouver. It has effectively been ‘sold’, and the future looks rosy again.
This doesn’t change the situation that there are very few flight options and income is low. But lets be positive about it. It’s a great chance to start afresh and attract new investment, routes, partners, non-aviation related business, and move forward. The airport is loved by its nearby (nearly 2 million) population and they’d love to fly here, both on holiday and business routes, if we just had the airlines.
So let’s give it a chance.