Abandoning ships for blue sky thinking?

First published in Talking Business The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by

GOOD luck to Andy Foulds in his new role as the commercial director of Durham Tees Valley Airport.
Owner Peel Holdings said the move underlined its commitment to making the site a success - let's hope so. If the region has any chance of continuing its impressive export performance it needs every bit of infrastructure at its disposal. Since BMI pulled its flights to London The Northern Echo has been running a Keep The Region Flying campaign in a bid to remind business leaders, politicians and passengers that we all should pull together to retain this vital transport hub.   
Andy said he would "leave no stone unturned" in his search to boost business on both the aviation side and in the wider development of the overall site. "I would not have joined if I did not think it could be brought back to health," he said on Monday.
His predecessors made similarly upbeat claims but struggled to bring new scheduled flights to the airport. Without KLM's three daily services to Amsterdam the site would be a dead duck as a passenger facility.
Peel's recent bid for £5.9m cash from the Regional Growth Fund to develop a huge freight operation was a strong indication of the company's strategy to revive the site.
Its also interesting to note that Andy's background is in shipping rather than in the aviation industry. He spent 18 years with container operator Moller-Maersk before joining the Port of Tyne Authority. Is his appointment an indication that Peel will focus efforts primarily on new freight and ancillary services rather than expend energy on boosting the passenger side of the operation?
We'll be speaking to him later this week to hear his plans.

PRETTY much every week of the year seems to be dedicated to some business sector or other. Hot on the heels of National Sausage Week and Wool Week we are now - as I'm sure you all know - in the middle of Export Week, which was launched by UKTI with an event at Durham Tees Valley Airport. The latest export drive, however, clashes with Global Entrepreneurship Week. Both of them are laudable campaigns but you can't support everything. Perhaps we should follow the method that comedian Harry Hill uses to sort out the big dilemmas in his life. As he would say: "I like entrepreneurs and I also like exporters, but which one is best? There's only one way to find out -FIGHT!

I'M sick of reading of companies that are designated as a "giant" - as in supermarket giant Tesco or banking giant Barclays. I've probably been guilty of using the term myself. Yesterday brought a press release which talked of a telecoms "behemoth". What next? - pasty leviathan Greggs, car making titan Nissan, oil & gas ogre BP. Let's slay this beast now.

Follow me on Twitter @BizEcho

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