Tees Valley Mayor says he is in ‘touching distance’ of bringing Durham Tees Valley Airport into public ownership
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen says he is ‘within touching distance’ of bringing the region’s airport back in public control.
Mr Houchen, says his £74 million plan for the Tees Valley Combined Authority to buy Durham Tees Valley Airport has the backing of all five of the region’s council leaders including Hartlepool’s.
A £588m investment plan, which includes the airport takeover, is due to be voted on by the cabinet of the combined authority on Thursday.
Mr Houchen said he is delighted all five Tees Valley local authority leaders are set to put party politics aside to support the proposals.
He said: “When I first pledged to take our airport back into public ownership, I was widely ridiculed and told it couldn’t be done.
“But thanks to the tens of thousands of you who put your faith in me, we are now within reaching distance of taking back control of our airport to secure its future for generations to come.
“If my 10 Year Rescue Plan is formally approved on Thursday, we will get to work on Friday to rebuild our airport. This will take time, but I’m ready for the challenge.
“Together, this will be an airport owned by the people, for the people, that will work in the interests of Tees Valley residents and our local economy.”
The deal includes buying the current airport owners Peel Airports’ 89% shareholding.
The other 11% is owned by six local authorities, with Hartlepool Borough Council owning a 1.08% stake in the airport.
Last week, Councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher, leader of Hartlepool Borough Council, said he fully supported the 10-year investment plan.
He said: “I will be supporting the plan at the Cabinet meeting next week as I believe each of the five Local Authority areas across the Tees Valley will benefit and I would encourage my fellow Cabinet members to do the same.”
It earmarks up to £74.6m to fund the acquisition, operations and capital expenditure before the airport becomes profitable and begins to repay the investment.