Durham Tees Valley gets support from top MP William Hague

19.2.2010   (fhr.net)
William Hague has given his backing to Durham Tees Valley airport, arguing that it plays a key role for travel in and out of the north-east.

The shadow foreign secretary noted that the loss of flights to London will not
cause any major damage to the airport’s prospects

Durham Tees Valley Airport continues to provide excellent air links to and from
the north-east of England, in spite of the recent ending of direct flights to

That is according to shadow foreign secretary and Richmond MP William Hague,
who lent his support to the airport on a recent meeting with its director Hugh

The former Conservative Party leader revealed that he uses the airport almost
every week, most recently jetting off to Amsterdam, and, though he acknowledged
that the scrapping of direct flights to London was a real blow for Durham Tees Valley, he expressed his confidence that it will continue to provide a much-needed
service for both business and leisure travellers.

“The airport has clearly had a huge knock with a loss of the regular flights
to London, which means its passenger numbers are down by more than a half on the
previous year, but its management are determined to keep the place going and to
try to attract new flights – so all of us locally must assist and support that
process,” Mr Hague told the Northern Echo.

At present, flights leave Durham Tees Valley to Aberdeen, Alicante, Amsterdam, Burgas, Dublin, Jersey and Palma de Mallorca, though most services are seasonal

see also
18.2.2010   (Northern Echo)

Mr William Hague, MP, visited Durham Tees Valley Airport

by Chris Lloyd    (and there is a video clip     – 4 mins 42 seconds – with Hague saying how the airport should be encouraged
and everyone should use it, as well as about high speed rail)
 ‘USE IT’ PLEA: William Hague at Durham Tees Valley Airport yesterday with Tory
candidate for the Darlington constituency, Edward Legard,

WILLIAM HAGUE yesterday offered a personal plea to local people to support their
local airport, but said that building a new runway at Heathrow would not guarantee
the region access to the capital.

Mr Hague, the Shadow Foreign Secretary and Richmond MP, visited Durham Tees Valley Airport to discuss its future with director Hugh Lang and the prospective Conservative
candidate for
Darlington, Edward Legard.

Mr Hague said: "The airport has clearly had a huge knock with a loss of the regular
flights to London, which means its passenger numbers are down by more than a half
on the previous year, but its management are determined to keep the place going
and to try to attract new flights – so all of us locally must assist and support
that process.

"In particular, it would be very positive if some sort of connection with a London
airport were re-established."

However, he admitted it was not something politicians could influence directly.

"It depends on someone being willing to fly a commercial service," he said.

"Politicians can’t order that to happen, but we can, over time, construct policies
so that such things are easier and encouraged."

Labour believes that building a third runway at Heathrow would allow greater
access for regional airports to the London hub.

But Mr Hague is opposed for environmental reasons and because he believes a bigger
Heathrow would attract more international flights rather than regional ones.

"It is not clear why Heathrow should become the bus stop for a large number of
international travellers changing planes without contributing to the British economy,"
he said.

Sedgefield MP Phil Wilson, in whose constituency much of Durham Tees Valley Airport lies,
said: "If you don’t want a third runway, you are writing off regional aviation.

"By closing their minds to it, the Tories are driving a coach and horses through
their transport policy."

Mr Hague said that Tory proposals for a slimmed down, private sector-led regional
development agency (RDA) could enable the airport to thrive. "I don’t think there
are many defenders of doing it in the way Labour has with every part of Britain
having a RDA with a top heavy bureaucracy," he said, "but that doesn’t mean getting
rid of effective economic promotion of the North-East or Yorkshire."

Mr Wilson said: "If it ain’t broke why fix it? One North- East is doing an excellent
job as an RDA. The Tories completely underestimate the need for a strategic approach
to create employment and support something like the airport."

The CAA provisional figures for January are now out, and are at
In January   the number of air transport movements at Durham Tees Valley was 375  which
was – 32.9% lower than in January 2009.   The numbers of terminal passengers was
11,434, down – 47.9% compared to January 2009.
By contrast, for all the UK airports that   have report figures so far for January
(which is almost all of them) the air transport movements are down by 9.9% compared
to Jan 2009, and passengers down – 6%.
for more information and news about see Durham Tees Valley Airport
Comments from AirportWatch members:
It’s pretty easy to see why this airport “lost” its links with London. Even without
High Speed Rail, the journey time from its nearest station (Darlington) to London
is 2 1/2 – 2 3/4 hours. In fact one method of getting to the airport is to take
the train to Darlington and then catch a bus.   Why not just stay on the train
and go straight through to London?

Frankly, the Government should BAR internal flights of this nature.  Not only
are they inefficient of time, they are totally detrimental to the environment.

Mr. Hague is clearly in need of some re-education : “nipping across to Amsterdam
for the weekend” is the sort of thing that responsible folk should abhor.   And
one wonders just how well he thought through his notion of passengers from the
NE being able to fly to “Gatwick or Stansted to pick up a connection….” – practicality
suggests that it couldn’t be “either/or” and I for one can’t imagine a sensible
payload of passengers, for even one flight a day  to each airport, from and to  the
NE (and what would the aircraft be doing for the remaining 20 hours of the day?)