Durham Tees Valley Airport has been handed a major boost after Scottish airline Loganair launched new services linking the airport to Aberdeen and Norwich.
The new services, which will begin on October 15, will see up to three weekday non-stop flights between Aberdeen and Durham Tees Valley Airport (DTVA), with one flight on Sunday.
Air links between the North East and East Anglia will also be restored after a two-decade absence, with a non-stop flight introduced six days a week between DTVA and Norwich.
Durham Tees Valley chief executive Steve Gill sees the announcement as a major breakthrough for the airport - and hopes it will provide a boost for the North East's business community, too.
He said: "We are delighted that Loganair has shown such confidence in Durham Tees Valley, especially at such an important point in the airline’s development as it prepares to operate flights in its own right from next month after 24 years of operating under franchise agreements with other carriers.
“We certainly hope that this initial announcement of the new services to Norwich and Aberdeen marks that start of a successful—and growing—partnership with Loganair, who have chosen Durham Tees Valley for the launch of their operations in the North East.”
Both of the new DTVA routes will benefit from a codeshare with Loganair’s sister company, bmi Regional.
Passengers travelling via Aberdeen can access easy onward links to Orkney, Shetland, the Danish seaport of Esbjerg and Norway’s capital, Oslo.
Jonathan Hinkles, Loganair’s managing director said: “Commencing operations from Durham Tees Valley Airport is another important milestone in Loganair’s 55-year history and we’re thrilled to mark the occasion.
“The increased connectivity by Loganair will bring tremendous benefits for those involved in the offshore energy industries in North-East, Aberdeen and East Anglia, which are home to many different companies and individuals working in both the traditional oil and gas market and the burgeoning renewable energy industry.
“As such, we are keen to talk to as many of those businesses as possible, with corporate and agency partnerships of great importance to us.
“Although we’re aware that a competitor already flies between Aberdeen and DTVA, we’re confident in growing this market through our compelling product and excellent customer service.
“We’re looking forward to beginning a long and successful working relationship with Durham Tees Valley Airport and intend to announce further service developments at DTVA in the coming months.”
Chris Harcombe, head of aviation development at Peel Airports, said: "Attracting a well-established airline such as Loganair is exactly in line with the strategy we set out in the business plan for Durham Tees Valley to concentrate on supporting and developing services focussed on the business community.
“The links between our region and the Aberdeen area are, of course, well established and there is a great deal of business synergy with Norwich.
"Having direct air links to both is of real benefit for our local firms providing goods, services and expertise in these fields.”
North East Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive James Ramsbotham said: “With both Aberdeen and East Anglia having a strong presence in the oil, gas and renewable energy sectors, there are great opportunities for the many world-class companies in our region and more direct air services are very welcome.
“Loganair’s decision to choose Durham Tees Valley underlines the important role the airport plays in meeting the needs of the business community.”
Coun Bill Dixon, the Tees Valley Combined Authority’s cabinet member for transport, said: “Our Strategic Economic Plan sees the airport as playing a long-term role in contributing to the competitiveness and prosperity of the Tees Valley, and I am delighted that Loganair recognises the potential for developing the kind of routes which can benefit our local companies.
“With both Aberdeen and Norwich as major centres for energy developments, having direct air links from our area underlines the contribution which our airport can make in driving forward economic growth.”
The new services will be operated by a 34-seat Saab 340B aircraft.
Flights will leave DTVA at 7.20am (Monday to Thursday), 10.20am (Monday to Thursday) and 5.10pm (Sunday to Friday), and 8.20pm (Thursday and Friday) for the one-hour sector to Aberdeen.
Return flights from Aberdeen will leave at 8.50am (Monday to Thursday), 1pm (Sunday to Friday) and 6:50pm (Sunday to Friday), arriving in DTVA one hour later.
Flights from DTVA to Norwich will leave at 2.20pm (Sunday to Friday), arriving in Norwich at 3.20pm.
Return flights from Norwich will depart at 4pm (Sunday to Friday), arriving in DTVA at 5pm – saving a five-and-a-half-hour road journey.
Lead-in fares for DTVA to Aberdeen International Airport begin at £69.99 each way, while prices for a one-way ticket to Norwich will start at £49.99.
All Loganair fares include a complimentary 20kg checked baggage allowance and in-flight refreshments.
The airline also enables customers to pay by credit card without surcharge.
Bookings can be made directly via www.loganair.co.uk or via calling Loganair on 0344 800 2855.