Loganair scraps Aberdeen services at Durham Tees Valley Airport – it only started in October
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has ordered Durham Tees Valley Airport (DTVA) officials to ‘put up or shut up’ following the loss of Scottish services, and reiterated an election pledge to overthrow operator Peel and buy the site. It has been revealed that Loganair is shelving Aberdeen services next month. The flights, aimed predominantly at offshore oil workers, were only introduced to DTVA in October 2017, but Loganair says it is “unable to make the commercial case to lease the required aircraft” to continue the route. DVTA has already lost its flights to Norwich. The airport wants the Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA) to provide £500,000 of taxpayers’ money to “support route & passenger growth” and attract businesses. The TVCA had previously agreed to provide Peel with financial help after it pledged the airport would remain open until at least 2021 while a 5-year masterplan was developed. But the Mayor will not agree to this spending, that he believes does not give taxpayers’ value for money. He expects Peel to make a success of the airport, or sell it to someone who will.
Grounded: Loganair scraps Aberdeen services at Durham Tees Valley Airport just months after launch
By Steven Hugill (Business Editor – Northern Echo)
A POWER struggle over a controversy-hit airport has intensified after a leading politician accused bosses of a “cynical and desperate” attempt to use him to cover their failures following an airline’s departure.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has ordered Durham Tees Valley Airport officials to ‘put up or shut up’ following the loss of Scottish services and reiterated an election pledge to overthrow operator Peel and buy the site.
However, Peel has hit back, accusing Mr Houchen of “damaging confidence in the airport.”
The war of words was ratcheted up after it was revealed airline Loganair is shelving Aberdeen services next month.
The flights, aimed predominantly at offshore workers, were only introduced to DTVA in October, but Loganair says it is “unable to make the commercial case to lease the required aircraft” to continue its Granite City offering.
The decision means it was a very short-lived tenure for Loganair at DTVA, having already seen flights to Norwich fall by the wayside.
The carrier’s departure comes amid an ongoing a stand-off between airport bosses and Mr Houchen over a proposed £500,000 funding boost.
Airport officials want the Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA) development organisation to release the cash to support route and passenger growth.
Tees Valley council leaders had previously agreed to provide Peel with financial help after it pledged the airport would remain open until at least 2021 while a five-year masterplan was developed.
However, Mr Houchen, who swept to election victory last year following a vow to return the airport to public ownership, has suggested he will veto any plan that he feels doesn’t give taxpayers’ value for money.
And he accused Peel bosses of trying to cover their own failures with Loganair’s departure, while mocking the Flying for the Future slogan used by the operator in promotional campaigns.
He said: “This is yet another disappointing announcement and bad news for our industry and workers who have lost an important link to Aberdeen.
“Far from Flying for the Future, under Peel’s ownership our airport is Flying for Failure.
“Peel either need to up their game or sell the airport to someone who will.
“Peel’s cynical attempt to divert attention away from their years of failure by pinning a commercial decision by Loganair on me is desperate.
“I have never provided nor been asked to provide public funding to support the Loganair service.
“The people sent Peel a clear message in May last year that they were unhappy with the way our airport is being run.
“I will be presenting my proposal to bring our airport back into public ownership in the coming months.
“It has taken time, but the public expect me to get this right.
“Only in local hands can we guarantee our airport won’t close.”
However, a Peel spokesman said the Mayor’s stance was frustrating efforts to revive the base, which has toiled in recent years after the departure of charter flights significantly dented passenger numbers.
He said: “We are disappointed the Mayor is intending to block these proposals as we believe we have a shared ambition to bring growth in passenger services.
“The proposals are made against funds already earmarked to DTVA development by TVCA and are to help strengthen the commercial offer to bring new leisure and business routes to the airport, delivering economic benefit and important connectivity to the region. “They are made in the best interests of Tees Valley and its airport.”
The spokesman also said Mr Houchen’s position was hindering the site’s progress, accusing the Mayor of failing to back up his words with action.
He added: “We have no plans to sell our stake in the airport and nine months since the Mayor’s election, we have still not received any form of proposal from the Mayor nor have we discussed any initiatives that might help the airport grow.
“With this all hanging over the airport, opportunities are being missed and confidence is being damaged.
“We are very disappointed that Loganair are withdrawing their Aberdeen service and would urge any available funding allocated by TVCA to the airport should be used to support passenger growth and attracting businesses.”
Tees Valley Mayor promises to veto plans to give £500,000 to Durham Tees Valley Airport owners
The Conservative Mayor the Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA), Ben Houchen, says he fully intends to fulfil his manifesto pledge of bringing Durham Tees Valley Airport back into public ownership. He will veto any plan to grant £500,000 of taxpayers money to the owners of Durham Tees Valley Airport (DTVA) “ for nothing in return”. But Mr Houchen finds himself at odds with the TVCA’s 5 local authority leaders – all Labour – who have proposed amending the mayor’s budget plans in favour of granting DTVA owners, Peel, £500,000 to secure flights to the airport. The Labour council leaders said they blocked the mayor’s budget “when it became clear that the money requested had been earmarked for solicitors and consultants instead of support for the new routes”. The Mayor said: “I was elected with a clear mandate to buy our airport, and that’s what I plan to do. Labour council leaders sold off our airport for half a million quid, and since my election they’ve bent over backwards to pressurise me into giving taxpayer cash to Peel for nothing in return. It isn’t going to happen. I will veto any proposal that does not offer value for money.” There are currently no flights from DVTA to London, but 3 per day to Amsterdam with KLM to link up with Schiphol’s routes.