Minister paints gloomy picture for future of Durham Tees Valley Airport

Darlington and Stockton Times: TRANSPORT TALK: Durham Tees Valley Airport TRANSPORT TALK: Durham Tees Valley Airport

THE transport minister has questioned the future of struggling Durham Tees Valley Airport after a disastrous slump in passenger numbers.

Robert Goodwill – responding to calls for better transport links – said much more than extra trains was required if the airport was to survive and prosper.

Speaking in the Commons, the Scarborough and Whitby MP told MPs: “My assessment is that public transport links to Durham Tees Valley airport are very poor.”

But he added: “Given that the passenger numbers were 900,000 in 2006 and 161,092 in 2013, action on more than just public transport links will be required to ensure the airport’s future.”

The gloomy assessment comes amid rising local concern about the threat to Durham Tees Valley Airport, following the launch of a masterplan by owners, Peel Holdings.

Based on the belief that few airports can survive on revenues from passenger traffic alone, Peel wants to develop its land assets, including building up to 400 new homes on the site.

The plan refocuses the airport on business customers, although leisure destinations accessible via Amsterdam Schiphol Airport will be promoted.

The terminal building will be remodelled, with a mix of offices and hangars built around it. St George's Hotel will also be extended.

The airport says it plans to boost annual passenger numbers to 200,000 by 2020 and to double that figure to 400,000 by 2050.

But several thousand people have signed a petition, launched by Middlesbrough councillor Chris Hobson, which calls for more flights to be diverted to Teesside.

Local MPs played down Mr Goodwill’s comments, expressing their confidence in Peel’s abilities to turn the airport’s fortunes around.

Phil Wilson, Labour MP for Sedgefield, said: “The minister is right, but the masterplan shows Peel is there for the long term. It has to diversify to grow.”

And James Wharton, Conservative MP for Stockton South, said: “I think the minister has a point. I will continue to encourage Peel to find more routes. It’s not easy, but it can be done.”

Peter Nears, strategic planning director for Durham Tees Valley Airport, said: "We are grateful that local members of Parliament have highlighted the need for improved public transport links. 

"The fact is that it has long been recognised that, whilst the rail line does run close to the airport, the current rail halt is totally unsuitable.

"In his response, the Minister referred to the Government’s aviation policy framework which sets out the need to involve transport operators, local authorities and local enterprise partnerships in delivering better transport links and, of course, we have seen central and local government, supporting improvements at a number of airports across the country.

"As was pointed out to the Minister, the Tees Valley Metro project, which is led by the Tees Valley Unlimited local enterprise partnership, does include proposals for a new station serving the airport.

"The proposals for the station are included in the overall Master Plan for the airport now being finalised and we will be looking at ways in which it can prioritised as the Metro project moves forward.

"The Master Plan recognises that airports play a vital role in developing local economies, especially in terms of providing the business community, who are increasingly competing in international markets, with access to the international transport network.

"That is just as important to areas such as the Tees Valley as it is to the South of England."

Mr Goodwill was speaking in reply to Ian Swales, the Liberal Democrat MP for Redcar, who pointed to the extraordinary low use of the airport station as a “symbol of the long-term neglect”.

Mr Swales said just eight passengers had caught trains in 12 months, because – “cynically avoiding the costs of a real closure” – just one service ran each week.

He added “The airport is a key part of our local economy and I will continue to do all I can to ensure it provides the sort of service my constituents deserve.”

Northern Rail said it was only required to run one service a week, arguing it was up to the department for transport to “specify a higher level of service”.

Mr Goodwill said his department was ready to work with the airport and local political and business leaders to improve transport to all airports.

Comments (23)

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6:23am Sat 22 Mar 14

FirTreeFC says...

We all know the problems, Peel just want to build houses and sell the land, there is no train link, buses do not link with the very few flights. The staff are poorly motivated, even when passenger numbers were high and the passenger duty fee was the final nail in the coffin. I have business colleagues from Holland and Germany that prefer to go to Newcastle and take a taxi south. Remove Peel holdings or close it ,simple choice!
We all know the problems, Peel just want to build houses and sell the land, there is no train link, buses do not link with the very few flights. The staff are poorly motivated, even when passenger numbers were high and the passenger duty fee was the final nail in the coffin. I have business colleagues from Holland and Germany that prefer to go to Newcastle and take a taxi south. Remove Peel holdings or close it ,simple choice! FirTreeFC
  • Score: 55

7:35am Sat 22 Mar 14

MSG123 says...

it is nothing to do with transport links, the airport is well served by good road links, it has a station for gods sake, the trains just need to stop there. what is needed are flights, the airport has been purposely run down so the valuable land can be sold for housing (for which their is no market for) it used to be a great airport and people would travel for miles to fly from there when there were flights operating. flights used to go to the Balearics, mainland Spain, Rome, Ireland, Amsterdam, London, Newquay etc and they were always full, I know because I used to use them. it's simple, the more flights, the more passengers will come through the door. it will be a devastating loss if it's this managed decline is left to continue and it eventually closes.
it is nothing to do with transport links, the airport is well served by good road links, it has a station for gods sake, the trains just need to stop there. what is needed are flights, the airport has been purposely run down so the valuable land can be sold for housing (for which their is no market for) it used to be a great airport and people would travel for miles to fly from there when there were flights operating. flights used to go to the Balearics, mainland Spain, Rome, Ireland, Amsterdam, London, Newquay etc and they were always full, I know because I used to use them. it's simple, the more flights, the more passengers will come through the door. it will be a devastating loss if it's this managed decline is left to continue and it eventually closes. MSG123
  • Score: 65

8:41am Sat 22 Mar 14

Boro and Proud says...

I note that Mr McDonald the Middlesbrough MP is silent. Says everything
I note that Mr McDonald the Middlesbrough MP is silent. Says everything Boro and Proud
  • Score: 17

9:27am Sat 22 Mar 14

AllAboardTheSkylark says...

Boro and Proud wrote:
I note that Mr McDonald the Middlesbrough MP is silent. Says everything
Except this is not true, is it?

From Hansard 20/3/14

Andrew McDonald (Middlesbrough, Labour)

"The Minister will know that the Tees Valley metro was seen as a key component in establishing better links to the airport. That concept appears to have slipped somewhat. Will he meet me to discuss the viability of the Tees Valley metro so that we can pursue our economic ambitions right across the Tees valley?"

Robert Goodwill (Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport); Scarborough and Whitby, Conservative)

"I will be more than happy to do so, and ensure that Teesside has the same good transport links from which many other parts of the country benefit."

Doesn't sound like silence to me.
[quote][p][bold]Boro and Proud[/bold] wrote: I note that Mr McDonald the Middlesbrough MP is silent. Says everything[/p][/quote]Except this is not true, is it? From Hansard 20/3/14 Andrew McDonald (Middlesbrough, Labour) "The Minister will know that the Tees Valley metro was seen as a key component in establishing better links to the airport. That concept appears to have slipped somewhat. Will he meet me to discuss the viability of the Tees Valley metro so that we can pursue our economic ambitions right across the Tees valley?" Robert Goodwill (Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport); Scarborough and Whitby, Conservative) "I will be more than happy to do so, and ensure that Teesside has the same good transport links from which many other parts of the country benefit." Doesn't sound like silence to me. AllAboardTheSkylark
  • Score: 1

10:29am Sat 22 Mar 14

gramps427 says...

The politicians are simply refusing to admit that they have caused the problems for Tees Valley Airport when they committed to promoting Newcastle Airport, above and beyond Tees Valley, when One North East ruled the roost in the North East. Now it can be no coincidence that the profitability of Tees Valley fell shortly after the local councils off loaded it to Peel, a company adored by the Labour party and now being closely looked at by Government after it's exploits in the Liverpool Manchester corridor spending tax payers money & never their own to make their profits bulge. The aims of Peel were clear from the start when they cut the terminal off from the rest of the airport & put up a locked gate between it and the railway terminal as well as preventing the local buses getting near to the terminal. The tax payers subsidising Newcastle Airport to the tune of over £60,000 million also helps to keep the landing charges well below that of Tees Valley; where are the CAA one asks when competition rules are being broken all over the shop, but then they do what the politicians tell them to do.
The politicians are simply refusing to admit that they have caused the problems for Tees Valley Airport when they committed to promoting Newcastle Airport, above and beyond Tees Valley, when One North East ruled the roost in the North East. Now it can be no coincidence that the profitability of Tees Valley fell shortly after the local councils off loaded it to Peel, a company adored by the Labour party and now being closely looked at by Government after it's exploits in the Liverpool Manchester corridor spending tax payers money & never their own to make their profits bulge. The aims of Peel were clear from the start when they cut the terminal off from the rest of the airport & put up a locked gate between it and the railway terminal as well as preventing the local buses getting near to the terminal. The tax payers subsidising Newcastle Airport to the tune of over £60,000 million also helps to keep the landing charges well below that of Tees Valley; where are the CAA one asks when competition rules are being broken all over the shop, but then they do what the politicians tell them to do. gramps427
  • Score: 22

10:49am Sat 22 Mar 14

Anzdroid says...

I would use Teesside Airport every time I travelled as it is my nearest airport ??.
I was rarely given the option when
booking flights .
I don't think the drop in passengers has anything to do with it,as all locals I'm sure would have opted to fly to and from this airport had they been given that option in first place . The plan was always there and being executed I think well before it was noticed or anounced ofbits demise
I would use Teesside Airport every time I travelled as it is my nearest airport ??. I was rarely given the option when booking flights . I don't think the drop in passengers has anything to do with it,as all locals I'm sure would have opted to fly to and from this airport had they been given that option in first place . The plan was always there and being executed I think well before it was noticed or anounced ofbits demise Anzdroid
  • Score: 17

11:05am Sat 22 Mar 14

tomtopper says...

I mean you have the likes of Hitachi moving to Aycliffe ... Yet they want to close a perfectly serviceable transport link which could go towards more investment in the region...

You don't improve big investment to an area by closing down much needed transport links..

This is all about the 'quick buck' mindset which is prevalent around these areas.. Houses

Buildings and places of character are being demolished and torn down for cheaply built plasterboard houses... Houses houses everywhere.. No character, no interesting places, just houses, retail parks and cctv cameras..

What a horrible characterless & faceless society we are becoming..
I mean you have the likes of Hitachi moving to Aycliffe ... Yet they want to close a perfectly serviceable transport link which could go towards more investment in the region... You don't improve big investment to an area by closing down much needed transport links.. This is all about the 'quick buck' mindset which is prevalent around these areas.. Houses Buildings and places of character are being demolished and torn down for cheaply built plasterboard houses... Houses houses everywhere.. No character, no interesting places, just houses, retail parks and cctv cameras.. What a horrible characterless & faceless society we are becoming.. tomtopper
  • Score: 36

12:05pm Sat 22 Mar 14

Boro and Proud says...

AllAboardTheSkylark wrote:
Boro and Proud wrote:
I note that Mr McDonald the Middlesbrough MP is silent. Says everything
Except this is not true, is it?

From Hansard 20/3/14

Andrew McDonald (Middlesbrough, Labour)

"The Minister will know that the Tees Valley metro was seen as a key component in establishing better links to the airport. That concept appears to have slipped somewhat. Will he meet me to discuss the viability of the Tees Valley metro so that we can pursue our economic ambitions right across the Tees valley?"

Robert Goodwill (Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport); Scarborough and Whitby, Conservative)

"I will be more than happy to do so, and ensure that Teesside has the same good transport links from which many other parts of the country benefit."

Doesn't sound like silence to me.
It is with regret that I must point out that Mr McDonald has done very little re the airport since he was elected. Can he tell us what his plans are
[quote][p][bold]AllAboardTheSkylark[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Boro and Proud[/bold] wrote: I note that Mr McDonald the Middlesbrough MP is silent. Says everything[/p][/quote]Except this is not true, is it? From Hansard 20/3/14 Andrew McDonald (Middlesbrough, Labour) "The Minister will know that the Tees Valley metro was seen as a key component in establishing better links to the airport. That concept appears to have slipped somewhat. Will he meet me to discuss the viability of the Tees Valley metro so that we can pursue our economic ambitions right across the Tees valley?" Robert Goodwill (Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport); Scarborough and Whitby, Conservative) "I will be more than happy to do so, and ensure that Teesside has the same good transport links from which many other parts of the country benefit." Doesn't sound like silence to me.[/p][/quote]It is with regret that I must point out that Mr McDonald has done very little re the airport since he was elected. Can he tell us what his plans are Boro and Proud
  • Score: 9

6:02pm Sat 22 Mar 14

spragger says...

No great surprise
Its like many things in the NE
Run by incompetent idiots
No great surprise Its like many things in the NE Run by incompetent idiots spragger
  • Score: 17

7:08pm Sat 22 Mar 14

Peter Elsdon says...

Public transport comments are a red herring.It would be interesting to know what percentage of users of Newcastle Airport go there by public transport.
Public transport comments are a red herring.It would be interesting to know what percentage of users of Newcastle Airport go there by public transport. Peter Elsdon
  • Score: 11

8:39pm Sat 22 Mar 14

spottycow says...

GOODWILL IS MY M P AND I THINK HE HIS A FIRST CLASS IDIOT . HE CANT HELP US IN SCARBOROUGH IN GETTING THE A64 ROAD UPGRADED . MY FAMILY WILL NOT SUPPORT HIM AS OUR MP AT THE NEXT ELECTION PLUS MANY OTHER PEOPLE I KNOW /AND IM A TORY VOTER.
GOODWILL IS MY M P AND I THINK HE HIS A FIRST CLASS IDIOT . HE CANT HELP US IN SCARBOROUGH IN GETTING THE A64 ROAD UPGRADED . MY FAMILY WILL NOT SUPPORT HIM AS OUR MP AT THE NEXT ELECTION PLUS MANY OTHER PEOPLE I KNOW /AND IM A TORY VOTER. spottycow
  • Score: 5

10:00pm Sat 22 Mar 14

cgraham says...

The rail link is there but you can not blame the train company for failing to have trains stop at the station. There are hardly any flights and therefore few passengers, hardly any of whom travel by train.
If you do travel by train the direct route to the terminal building is cut off by a fence, train passengers have to walk all the way around the outside...with a suitcase!
Peel want people to travel by car and pay for car parking on site, they appear not to want train passenger arrivals and have made it as difficult for them as possible.
I say "NO" to any house building. The airport needs to be retained for air transport not used for a quick profit from house building. Has the airport been deliberately rundown to make house building the only option on the horizon?
The rail link is there but you can not blame the train company for failing to have trains stop at the station. There are hardly any flights and therefore few passengers, hardly any of whom travel by train. If you do travel by train the direct route to the terminal building is cut off by a fence, train passengers have to walk all the way around the outside...with a suitcase! Peel want people to travel by car and pay for car parking on site, they appear not to want train passenger arrivals and have made it as difficult for them as possible. I say "NO" to any house building. The airport needs to be retained for air transport not used for a quick profit from house building. Has the airport been deliberately rundown to make house building the only option on the horizon? cgraham
  • Score: 19

10:55pm Sat 22 Mar 14

Graeme_r says...

If the metro went to Guisborough and the platform was near the terminal building it might attract a few extra business users. The rail platform is too far away from the terminal. The Metro is essentially a station refurbishment program with the addition of a few platforms and repositioning of a few more, all on existing lines so anyone who thinks that it would when complete attract more users to the airport is also deluding themselves. Unfortunately, Goodwill doesn't realise that Airport use has fallen because of the reduction in the number of available destinations, nor does he understand that building houses near the site will not in itself increase the number of destinations and airport users.
If the metro went to Guisborough and the platform was near the terminal building it might attract a few extra business users. The rail platform is too far away from the terminal. The Metro is essentially a station refurbishment program with the addition of a few platforms and repositioning of a few more, all on existing lines so anyone who thinks that it would when complete attract more users to the airport is also deluding themselves. Unfortunately, Goodwill doesn't realise that Airport use has fallen because of the reduction in the number of available destinations, nor does he understand that building houses near the site will not in itself increase the number of destinations and airport users. Graeme_r
  • Score: 8

7:22am Sun 23 Mar 14

hottopic says...

The reason the Airport went into decline is the after effects of 9/11 and has never recovered.

I have flown to Sanford, Florida pre 9/11 from "Teesside Airport".

Transport can only be provided by a private entity if there is sufficient demand, which there isn't.

A subsidised bus service in my eyes wouldn't help, if people don't mind getting a taxi or mini bus to Newcastle and Manchester Airports which I hear happening very often, then I hardly think a taxi fare to Durham Tees Valley is going to be a barrier. Many times a full taxi is cheaper than each individual paying for public transport, plus the convenience aspect.

In the past, the reason for the train station not being closed is the cost of closing a station is far more expensive than having a train stopping occasionally.

If the Airport can't turn around when things are picking up then there are serious problems, businesses become more streamline in a recession and therefore in theory have a greater potential for profit when coming out the otherside.

Diversity is key!
The reason the Airport went into decline is the after effects of 9/11 and has never recovered. I have flown to Sanford, Florida pre 9/11 from "Teesside Airport". Transport can only be provided by a private entity if there is sufficient demand, which there isn't. A subsidised bus service in my eyes wouldn't help, if people don't mind getting a taxi or mini bus to Newcastle and Manchester Airports which I hear happening very often, then I hardly think a taxi fare to Durham Tees Valley is going to be a barrier. Many times a full taxi is cheaper than each individual paying for public transport, plus the convenience aspect. In the past, the reason for the train station not being closed is the cost of closing a station is far more expensive than having a train stopping occasionally. If the Airport can't turn around when things are picking up then there are serious problems, businesses become more streamline in a recession and therefore in theory have a greater potential for profit when coming out the otherside. Diversity is key! hottopic
  • Score: -4

10:19am Sun 23 Mar 14

Graeme_r says...

I don't know many people who are prepared to lug suit cases onto buses when they go on their main holiday and are prepared to walkhundreds of yards to bus stops with them. We know it,s lack of destinations that is the prime reason for the lack of use and Peels house building won,t address this.
I don't know many people who are prepared to lug suit cases onto buses when they go on their main holiday and are prepared to walkhundreds of yards to bus stops with them. We know it,s lack of destinations that is the prime reason for the lack of use and Peels house building won,t address this. Graeme_r
  • Score: 6

1:51pm Sun 23 Mar 14

tzy says...

Would you go food shopping in morrisons if it had no food " NO "
So how can the public use an airport with no flights.we always used this airport at least twice a year to go on our family holidays,but over the years the flights have dwindled away to giving me no choice of destinations therefore forcing me to use newcastle.this is a total shame and the people who has run this airport down to this shoud hang their heads in shame.!
Would you go food shopping in morrisons if it had no food " NO " So how can the public use an airport with no flights.we always used this airport at least twice a year to go on our family holidays,but over the years the flights have dwindled away to giving me no choice of destinations therefore forcing me to use newcastle.this is a total shame and the people who has run this airport down to this shoud hang their heads in shame.! tzy
  • Score: 14

2:21pm Sun 23 Mar 14

johnny_p says...

Business management students should use Teesside Airport as a case study for failure.

An airport with:

1. Rude and aggressive and over officious security staff.

2. A dated and scruffy terminal building. Instead the owners waste millions putting cheap looking plastic cladding on the front.

3. A confusing, silly and unpopular name change.

4. Poor transport links. A railway station where no trains stop, and car parking prices that make Heathrow look good value.

5. A tacky, irritating passenger surcharge to be paid at a vending machine before you can use the place.

6. And of course! An "Airport" with hardly any flights........ you really couldn't make it up.
Business management students should use Teesside Airport as a case study for failure. An airport with: 1. Rude and aggressive and over officious security staff. 2. A dated and scruffy terminal building. Instead the owners waste millions putting cheap looking plastic cladding on the front. 3. A confusing, silly and unpopular name change. 4. Poor transport links. A railway station where no trains stop, and car parking prices that make Heathrow look good value. 5. A tacky, irritating passenger surcharge to be paid at a vending machine before you can use the place. 6. And of course! An "Airport" with hardly any flights........ you really couldn't make it up. johnny_p
  • Score: 19

6:01pm Sun 23 Mar 14

robbiejay says...

Peter Elsdon wrote:
Public transport comments are a red herring.It would be interesting to know what percentage of users of Newcastle Airport go there by public transport.
When I lived in South Shields, I would always use the Metro to get to the airport. The Metros are cheap, quick and convenient and they were always busy. As I now live in Co Durham, I parked at the airport for the day on Friday and it cost me coppers less than £20.00.

I'd use DTVA if there were rail links from Durham (and flights to decent places too)
[quote][p][bold]Peter Elsdon[/bold] wrote: Public transport comments are a red herring.It would be interesting to know what percentage of users of Newcastle Airport go there by public transport.[/p][/quote]When I lived in South Shields, I would always use the Metro to get to the airport. The Metros are cheap, quick and convenient and they were always busy. As I now live in Co Durham, I parked at the airport for the day on Friday and it cost me coppers less than £20.00. I'd use DTVA if there were rail links from Durham (and flights to decent places too) robbiejay
  • Score: 6

6:21pm Sun 23 Mar 14

oliviaden6 says...

I have said it before that PEEL should be prosecuted for mismanagement and blatant profiteering, they have systematically run the place into a position where there is no return. Ok close the place down and do NOT allow Peel to sell it for development. Return it back to much needed agricultural land. Teach these money grabbers a lesson, But i doubt Bill anfd His Buddies would not like that would they?????
I have said it before that PEEL should be prosecuted for mismanagement and blatant profiteering, they have systematically run the place into a position where there is no return. Ok close the place down and do NOT allow Peel to sell it for development. Return it back to much needed agricultural land. Teach these money grabbers a lesson, But i doubt Bill anfd His Buddies would not like that would they????? oliviaden6
  • Score: 17

2:48pm Wed 26 Mar 14

cushybutterfield says...

Gloomy Picture, its mainly a GLOOMY depressing AREA, steeped in negative 'union dinosaur history'. Its constant, moan, groan and whinge about anything and everything.
Gloomy Picture, its mainly a GLOOMY depressing AREA, steeped in negative 'union dinosaur history'. Its constant, moan, groan and whinge about anything and everything. cushybutterfield
  • Score: 0

9:47pm Wed 26 Mar 14

TechMech says...

Its a real pity about this Airport's decline in fortune. It had so much untapped potential, but politics, geography and trends are against it. I think it should be let to cease with the small dignity it has remaining and really, I'm surprised Peel have held on for so long. It has gone past the point of feasible return. For London, there are trains from both nearby Darlington and Eaglecliffe, Newcastle Airport with abundant destinations is 50 mins by car or mainline trains and good Metro connections in short times. Transportation trends continually change and with that, there are always winners and losers. DTVA sadly, is one of the latter.
Its a real pity about this Airport's decline in fortune. It had so much untapped potential, but politics, geography and trends are against it. I think it should be let to cease with the small dignity it has remaining and really, I'm surprised Peel have held on for so long. It has gone past the point of feasible return. For London, there are trains from both nearby Darlington and Eaglecliffe, Newcastle Airport with abundant destinations is 50 mins by car or mainline trains and good Metro connections in short times. Transportation trends continually change and with that, there are always winners and losers. DTVA sadly, is one of the latter. TechMech
  • Score: -1

4:29pm Thu 27 Mar 14

thetruthyoucanthandlethetruth says...

People just don't want to accept the inevitable. This business is bust and there is no going back now.
People just don't want to accept the inevitable. This business is bust and there is no going back now. thetruthyoucanthandlethetruth
  • Score: 0

3:30pm Fri 28 Mar 14

cushybutterfield says...

Get rid of most 'Mega expensive Airport Taxis' and in there place run a 'battery powered and/or Pedal Cycle Rickshaw Service' with recruitment from some of the local long term, free state benefit drawing workshy unemployed. You know it makes sense.
Get rid of most 'Mega expensive Airport Taxis' and in there place run a 'battery powered and/or Pedal Cycle Rickshaw Service' with recruitment from some of the local long term, free state benefit drawing workshy unemployed. You know it makes sense. cushybutterfield
  • Score: 0

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