Durham Tees Valley Airport scraps mainstream holiday flights – now just links to Schiphol, Aberdeen and Jersey
Durham Tees Valley Airport has decided, after a review of its business, to axe its holiday flights in order to concentrate on business travel. The struggling airport will continue passenger flights to Amsterdam, Aberdeen and Jersey only – but all holiday charters will end next summer. Scheduled daily passenger flights to Schiphol (Amsterdam) – operated by KLM – and Eastern Airways’ flights to Aberdeen will continue as normal, and Flybe link to Jersey. But the airport will be “streamlining operations and moving away from all mainstream holiday charter programmes”. Tour operators affected by the move are Thomson/First Choice and Balkan Holidays. Thomson Holidays has cancelled its two flight destinations for 2014 from Durham Tees Valley. The terminal will undergo changes, making the operational area smaller . Investment in the new layout will make it more suited to customers on scheduled flights with “new retail offerings and business services”. They are trying to keep some aviation use for the airport and will have their masterplan for public consultation from mid-November.
Durham Tees Valley Airport scraps mainstream holiday flights
30 Oct 2013 (Gazette)
Struggling airport will continue passenger flights to Amsterdam, Aberdeen and Jersey – but all holiday charters will end next summer
Durham Tees Valley Airport has axed its holiday flights in order to concentrate on business travel.
It announced today that, following a review of the business, chiefs had taken the first step towards a new future for the airport.
Scheduled daily passenger flights to Schiphol (Amsterdam) – operated by KLM – and Eastern Airways’ flights to Aberdeen will continue as normal.
But DTVA chiefs have announced they are “streamlining operations and moving away from all mainstream holiday charter programmes”.
Those changes will take effect from next summer and will include all flights bar the Flybe service to Jersey.
Anyone who has booked holiday flights from DTVA to Palma, Ibiza or Bulgaria for 2014 is advised to contact their tour operator or travel agent for advice.
Tour operators affected by the move are Thomson/First Choice and Balkan Holidays.
The Gazette reported this week how Thomson Holidays had been forced to pull the plug on two major holiday flights next year.
Earlier this month, DTVA chiefs’ reluctance to guarantee the future of holiday flights had prompted fears they were to be axed.
The operator says the move to drop flights to Ibiza and the well-established Majorca route was “beyond its control”.
A spokesman said Thomson had been notified that they would no longer be able to operate their flights from the airport, “following a business review of operations” by DTVA bosses.
In a statement today, DTVA thanked Thomson and Balkan “for all their support over the years”.
As part of the latest move, the terminal will undergo changes, making the operational area smaller and investment in the new layout will make it more suited to customers on scheduled flights.
New retail offerings and business services will be incorporated in the new layout.
Managing director Steve Gill said: “We have taken these steps following a difficult period for the airport and a thorough review of the whole site and our current operations, in order to give the airport a strong foundation to help safeguard the future of aviation activity.
“The result is a strategic masterplan which will be available for public consultation from mid-November.
“This will show how we plan to reposition the airport to focus on business and general aviation and will outline our plans for further developments.
“These will enable us to work towards expanding and diversifying our aviation and non-aviation activities across a broader base and grow back passenger services.
“This is envisaged to provide additional UK and global connections for the region’s business community who have a significant need to access international markets.
“The recent announcement of our investment in the new hangar facility for the National Police Air Service and the purchase of a significant development site on the north eastern edge of the airport demonstrates our commitment to deliver a long term future for Durham Tees Valley Airport so that we can continue to make a positive contribution to the economy of the Tees Valley and beyond.”
Gallery: Durham Tees Valley Airport through the years
View gallery at site http://www.gazettelive.co.uk/business/business-news/durham-tees-valley-airport-scraps-6255612
We are not wanted, says Thomson holidays as it announces flights from Durham Tees Valley Airport to be axed
29th October 2013 (The Northern Echo)
THE WORLD’S largest charter airline last night blamed Durham Tees Valley Airport for its shock decision to axe all flights to popular summer holiday destinations.
The 2014 holiday schedules due to be operated by Thomson and First Choice have been scrapped.
The surprise move means customers who have already booked seats will have to fly from a different airport.
Thomson operated charter flights to Alicante and Tenerife last winter and Palma Mallorca during the summer. In May, it announced plans for a new service to Ibiza in 2014.
In a statement, Thomson said: “Following a business review of operations by Durham Tees Valley Airport, Thomson and First Choice have been notified that they will no longer be able to operate their flights from the airport.
“We have therefore suspended flights from Durham Tees Valley Airport for summer 2014.
“We would like to reassure those customers who have already booked holidays departing from Durham Tees Valley that they will be offered an alternative choice of airport.
“Our customers are our number one priority and we apologise for any inconvenience caused by a change that is beyond our control
Durham Tees Valley Airport (DTVA) has seen its passenger numbers fall from almost one million in 2006 to just 160,000 annually.
Last night, an airport spokesman confirmed the losses and said an announcement on the “future business direction” of the airport would be made soon.
But the move appeared to confirm fears that the airport’s owners are set to turn their backs on the package holiday market.
Earlier this month The Northern Echo revealed that a turnaround plan drawn up by management will concentrate on attracting aviation businesses at the expense of charter flights.
Callers trying to book Thomson holiday flights from Durham Tees Valley are being advised to try Robin Hood Airport, near Doncaster, instead.
An airport spokesman said: “We can confirm that there will be no flights to Palma and Ibiza operated by Thomson Holidays from Durham Tees Valley Airport for the summer 2014 season.
“For alternative flights to these destinations customers are asked to consult the Thomson website.
“Further information on the future business direction of the airport will be announced shortly.”
A visit to Thomson’s website shows Alicante, Ibiza, Palma Mallorca and Tenerife South offered as destinations from DTV, but customers attempting to book are redirected to Robin Hood Airport’s timetable which has a full roster of holiday flights for 2014.
A call to the customer advice line querying this was met with a response that Thomson had “pulled out of Durham Tees Valley because it is not a popular airport”.
Darlington Borough Council leader Bill Dixon, who sits on the airport’s board representing the interests of six local councils with a minority shareholding in DTVA, said the future of the Thomson flights was always going to be a case of “use them or lose them”.
He added: “I think it is sad, but to be fair to Thomson they have seen passenger numbers decline quite markedly. They had to offer significant discounts to get people to fly from there.
“It is a pity that not enough people have used the flights from the airport and it is a shame that the tourism operators don’t see it as a viable market – but that could change in the future.”
Mr Dixon added that business destinations such as the international hub at Schiphol in Holland were the airport’s true economic lifeline and the airport should focus on securing their future.
The DTV rescue plan, drawn up by majority shareholders Peel Holdings, will go out for consultation next month.
Some other recent news about Durham Tees Valley airport:
Failing Durham Tees Valley airport new “Master Plan”; sound strategy – or a last throw of dice?
Date added: October 14, 2013
Durham Tees Valley airport, owned by Peel Holdings, has been doing very badly in recent years. It has twice failed to secure government funding for its expansion, but has now bought land it says could be used for “engineering, storage and distribution operations”. Since February it has been involved in taking apart and recycling old planes. The airport’s management say they will shortly be putting out a Master Plan, which is an aspiration of how they would like the airport to develop. Peel Holdings said the proposals would safeguard the airport’s flights to Schiphol and Aberdeen. A local MP said “This must not become an excuse to transition it being an industrial estate that happens to have a runway.” An airport manager commented that few airports can survive from passenger traffic revenue only. Commentators say the Master Plan could be seen as either the last throw of the dice, or a viable and coherent strategy. Though it suggests the airport plans to develop the commercial potential to retain passenger services, the unstated implication is that the battle is lost. Changes in the market and the end of the low-cost air travel boom mean there is no need for another passenger airport between Leeds Bradford and Newcastle. Click here to view full story…
Durham Tees Valley Airport bid for Regional Growth Fund money rejected again
August 3, 2013 Durham Tees Valley airport has been wanting £4.6m from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund (RGF) to help create an overall investment of £46.5m for the airport. But now for the second time, their bid has been refused by government. If approved, it would have meant a new access road on the south side of the airport and might – the airport claims – have led to the creation of “1,400 new jobs over the next ten years.” Hartlepool councillors are not happy, and it was agreed at a meeting of the full council to write to Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Innovation and Skills, to express their “disgust” over the decision. Labour councillor Robbie Payne, chairman of the council’s regeneration committee, said: “The decision has not only put our region at a disadvantage but makes Durham Tees Valley more unsustainable.” The RGFofficials did not include the bid among their 102 successful projects, including 6 in the Tees Valley. In October 2012 their bid for funding for a freight terminal was rejected by the RGF. Click here to view full story…
Airport bids to turn car park into caravan storage site
12.3.2013 As the airport has had such a large drop in numbers in recent years, it has applied to turn part of its long-stay car park into a storage area for caravans in a bid to generate income. The decline means that a large part of the airport’s long stay car park has become surplus to requirements, with a large section cordoned off and left unused. The airport’s owner, Peel Holdings, has now applied to Darlington Borough Council to change a 1.7 hectare section of the car park – more than 900 spaces – into a storage area for caravans, motorhomes and other vehicles for the next three years. Click here to view full story ….
Plan revealed to dismantle planes at Durham Tees Valley Airport
February 20, 2013 Durham Tees Valley Airport is set to become a centre for the storage and dismantling of unused planes, and recycling parts. Sycamore Aviation has set up its base at the struggling airport and has already begun work on taking apart a number of airliners. The airport has a long runway, enabling it to handle larger planes, and plenty of hangar space. There are apparently “huge numbers” of aircraft retiring across Europe. A Sycamore Aviation spokesman said one airline alone is likely to need to dispose of 20 jumbo jets and 20 Boeing 737 aircraft in the next 3 -4 years – an illustration of the potential scale of demand. They say that across Europe between 500 to 700 aircraft a year need to be decommissioned and currently there are just not enough facilities to meet the demand. The number of passengers using Durham Tees Valley airport has fallen steadily from around 912,000 in 2006 to 165,000 in 2012. Click here to view full story…
Bosses at Durham Tees Valley Airport express “acute disappointment” at bid failure
19.10.2012 AIRPORT bosses expressed their “acute disappointment” at the Government’s decision to reject a bid for regeneration cash. However, Durham they said they remained committed to the Southside freight terminal development – despite the failure of the £5.9m Regional Growth Fund (RGF) application. DTVA chairman Robert Hough said the company would be demanding an explanation from ministers after the RGF bid was turned down. “It was hoped the £5.9m scheme, which would take ten years to complete and create up to 1,500 jobs, could breathe new life into the airport, which was close to going out of business last year amid falling passenger numbers.” Click here to view full story …