Airports facing highs and lows

Durham Tees Valley Airport.
Durham Tees Valley Airport.
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THERE are contrasting fortunes for the region’s airports as one adds new routes and another faces an uncertain future.

Seven new destinations have been made available from Newcastle Airport, but Durham TeesValley Airport was put up for sale last month amid fears falling passenger numbers could lead to its closure.

Budget airline FlyBe will be flying from Newcastle to Newquay in Cornwall and to Newcastle’s twin town of Bergen.

Flybe’s announcement follows the addition of new routes from Jet2.com, including Rome, Venice, Bodrum in Turkey and Reus in Spain.

Newcastle Airport chief executive Dave Laws said bookings were already being taken for the new flights.

“The new direct flight to Bergen will further strengthen the region’s links with Norway,” Mr Laws added. “It’s a favourite for a short city break, and there are ongoing trade and investment links.

“Newquay’s return will also be very well received as the town provides great access to Cornwall’s stunning coastline.”

Tour operator Cosmos announced another boost to the airport with a weekly summer charter to Florida.

Newcastle City Council leader Coun Nick Forbes said he is “delighted” with the new services.

Coun Forbes added: “New routes such as this help create jobs, attract investment to our region, and are a sign of confidence. This is great news for tourism and the economy alike.”

More than 4.3million passengers passed through Newcastle Airport last year.

In 2006, around 900,000 people used Durham Tees Valley, but by last year numbers had fallen to just 200,000.

Owners Peel Airports say it no longer fits in with their portfolio of small regional airports, but they are hopeful of selling Durham Tees Valley as a going concern.

Stockton South MP James Wharton and Sedgefield MP Phil Wilson are among those who fear a buyer may want to close the airport and develop the site for housing.

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