Teesside International Airport is on course to meet its turnaround plan despite temporary changes to the flight schedule as a response to the new national coronavirus restrictions.
Following discussions with Eastern Airways, from Monday, 9 November, the current schedule will be temporarily revised during the lockdown to operate a single daily Monday to Friday route to and from Aberdeen. A return service to Belfast City airport will run on Mondays and Fridays to ensure essential workers can still travel for work.
The airport will be closed to passengers during the weekends but will remain open operationally to provide services for Cobham Aviation, the military, medical flights and private jet flights seven days a week.
Despite the impact of coronavirus, the airport’s finances remain on course to meet the objectives outlined in the 10-Year Rescue Plan and this period of reduced footfall will be used to accelerate the terminal building improvements programme that will give passengers an ever quicker and smoother experience when flying.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “The situation around this global pandemic is continually changing and we always said we’d follow the guidance and have no hesitation in reducing Teesside Airport’s operations once again if it would protect the health and wellbeing of staff and passengers – so that is what we and Eastern Airways have done.
“Back in January, when we announced new routes no one could ever have foreseen what 2020 would have in store but, despite the setbacks, the airport continues to move forward and we are already putting the building blocks in place for a strong 2021.
“We’ve reintroduced a route back to London Heathrow, the biggest airport in the country, we have an ever-growing summer 2021 schedule and we’re even bringing the UK’s biggest holiday firm, TUI, back to the airport in 2022.
“I’ve always said that, for our airport to be the success we all want it to be, it has to be about more than just summer holiday flights, as important as these are. So since taking back control of our airport and saving it from closure we’ve been diversifying and making the most of all of the opportunities the airport presents, making it a key element in my plan for jobs. Thanks to our overhaul of Hangar 1, Willis Asset Management Limited chose our airport, ahead of locations across Europe, for their maintenance base and planes are now rolling in. We’ve broken ground on the £200million Southside logistics and manufacturing park too which, when operational, could create 4,400 jobs for local people.
“Of course, we couldn’t have made so much progress without the tireless efforts of our dedicated staff. That’s why I’m making it clear that, as with the first national lockdown, there will be no staff redundancies. Those who are furloughed will have their 80% Government contribution topped to their usual salary, so they can be safe in the knowledge of a full pay packet in the run-up to Christmas.
“We will also use this period of reduced footfall to continue our improvements in the terminal building – alongside our continued £1million overhaul of the security area and revamp of the arrivals hall – to make sure our passengers have the best experience possible when we’re back up and running on a full schedule.
“Our work at the airport is continuing to pay off, as we’re looking to make yet another announcement of another airline choosing to fly from our airport very soon.
“I’m sure under the airport’s previous ownership this pandemic would have simply brought forward its planned closure in 2021 and the only progress being made there now would be converting it into a housing development. Instead we’re investing in its future and bringing forward terminal improvements ready for take-off next year.”
Any passengers affected by the revised schedule are advised to contact Eastern Airways directly (Easternairways.com).