Exports ‘vital’ to airport’s success

AIRPORT bosses have stressed the importance of exports to their industry at the launch of a week-long awareness campaign.

Durham Tees Valley Airport chiefs underlined how vital the area’s export opportunities were to the air transport network at the start of Export Week.

The launch event was held yesterday at Durham Tees Valley airport.

Peter Nears, the strategic planning director with the Peel Group, which owns the airport, described the Tees Valley as the “engine room” of the North East.

He said it contributes £10 billion a year to the UK economy and was home to 30 per cent of the country’s process industries.

The ‘Be Part of Export for Growth’ event , supported by the airport and Tees Valley Unlimited, marked the start of a week-long programme of events aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises and organised by Government’s UK Trade and Investment department.

Mr Nears said: “We are delighted to host the launch of Export Week in the region because it demonstrates the contribution our area makes to both the regional and national economies – and the central role of the airport in driving forward the economic growth of the Tees Valley.

“Exports are vital to that growth with so many of our companies operating on an international, indeed worldwide, basis—both in terms of their markets and, in many instances, their ownership.

“That’s why connections to services across the globe are so crucial and why the airport, with its highly valued three-times-a-day service to the international hub at Schiphol airport, is central to ensuring our businesses are able to maximise their export opportunities.

Mr Nears also stressed the importance of the Government’s aviation policy recognising the role of regional airports and understanding that the need for a realistic tax and duty regime.

He called for a ‘joined-up’ approach across Government departments, adding that aviation policy ‘must not be just about capacity in the South East’.