COMMERCE chiefs have thrown their weight behind major plans to revamp an airport.
The North East Chamber of Commerce has backed plans which would make Durham Tees Valley Airport (DTVA) an “attractive option to business travellers in the future”.
Its members in the south of the region were briefed on the DTVA master plan which includes creating more than 4,000 jobs, building up to 400 new houses on airport land, an extension to the St George’s Hotel; re-modelling of the airport terminal; and new office developments.
It also includes a business park and a new link road.
Two months of public consultation began in November and finished earlier this month.
The plans are designed to build on activity which is already happening at Durham Tees Valley including aircraft engineering, dismantling and recycling.
The plans would be phased to 2020 and beyond would create up to 3,800 new jobs, as well as another 450 during the construction phase.
NECC head of member relations, Rachel Anderson, said: “The large number of companies in the area requiring international air linkages makes a compelling case for maintaining and developing passenger services.
“Our members recognise that the airport has endured a tough few years, but are in favour of new investment to ensure it is an attractive option to business travellers in the future.”
She added: “Proposals to use surrounding land for housing development to provide the investment funds for upgrading the airport facilities have also received qualified support response from members, on the condition that profits are pumped back into DTVA.”
The chamber also backed plans for commercial development south of the airport. They would involve “aviation related activities.”
NECC members said they backed that part of the proposal provided there is a long term commitment to the development of commercial aviation facilities rather than a short term approach if the aims of the master plan are not quickly realised.
Rachel added: “Investment is required to improve service and make DTVA a more attractive option to business.”
She said members felt DTVA could be marketed as “a quick and efficient route for business travellers.
She added: “There is a very strong desire amongst the local business community to see an international airport in the south of the region.”
“We support the airport and will continue to do so if the investment plans in the master plan are realised.”