Ahead of a crunch vote to decide the fate of Durham Tees Valley Airport on Thursday 24th January, I am delighted to publish my plan to save our airport from closure.
On 24 January, the Labour leaders of Tees Valley’s five local authorities will decide whether to bring the airport back into public ownership. This is what I promised at the election, and I’m determined to see it through.
Public ownership is the only way to stop our airport from closing in 2021. There is no other option, and no other deal on the table. If the Labour council leaders reject this plan on 24th January, we will be the only major urban area in the United Kingdom without an international airport. 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.
With this plan, we will stop our airport from closing in 2021. With our new operator, with their experience and relationships with major airlines, we will land a low cost carrier, hit 1.4million passengers in the next ten years, and generate potentially thousands of jobs for local people.
In order to make this airport the success we know it can be, we’ll scrap the hated £6 Passenger Fee which puts off airlines and puts off passengers. We’ll also stop the planned 350-home development right outside the terminal, and we’ll change the airport’s name back to a brand people recognise world-over: Teesside International.
We have a huge amount of money from central government to invest in our local economic priorities, and saving our airport is a local economic priority.
We don’t need to tax local people to progress with this plan. I do not levy a tax and I will never levy a tax, because we don’t need to levy a tax. You will not have to pay a penny extra to finance this 10 year plan. Our valued public services will not be affected by this deal, our councils will be completely insulated from this deal, and our other priorities will still be delivered – and won’t be impacted by this deal.
But this plan isn’t just about securing a London flight or flights to Costa del Sol. As part of the deal, we will acquire 819 acres of land and develop it out for commercial space. This is where the real jobs and growth will come from. The land alone is worth the price we are paying.
Because we’re acquiring 819 acres, the airport will pay for itself. Worst case scenario and the airport closes in 15/20 years’ time, we’ll recoup every penny of initial investment. If there is ever a decision to develop out the site, it is the people of the Tees Valley who will benefit from the windfall, not a private landowner.
The 10 year plan – which is made up of three parts – sets out the case for public ownership, and how we will secure new flights and redevelop the site for commercial use – potentially supporting the creation of thousands of jobs over the next decade.
- Stop the airport from closing in 2021
- Secure a new low-cost airline
- Secure ten additional routes by 2022
- Achieve 1.4 million passengers by 2029
- Drive the creation of 7,600 jobs and add £420 million to our local economy each year
- Return the airport to profit
- Scrap the hated £6 passenger fee
- Stop the planned 350-home development
- Change the airport’s name back to Teesside International
All of this will be delivered with-
- Zero impact on people’s council tax bills
- Zero impact on local businesses
- Zero impact on public services
- Zero impact on local authority budgets