Durham Tees Valley Airport confirms end of charter flights

The Northern Echo: Durham Tees Valley Airport confirms end of charter flights Durham Tees Valley Airport confirms end of charter flights

Durham Tees Valley Airport has confirmed it is moving away from holiday flights as it looks to focus on business customers. Joe Willis reports.

DURHAM Tees Valley Airport (DTVA) is to scrap holiday charter flights and focus on business passengers in a bid to survive, bosses have confirmed.

The terminal building will be redesigned and reduced in size with cost-savings measures introduced including self-service check-ins.

Job losses are expected with bosses meeting with unions and staff on Wednesday before details were released to the media.

Airport chiefs say the changes, including the decision to cancel the Thomson/First Choice and Balkan Holidays services from summer 2014, follow an extensive review of the business.

Scheduled daily passenger flights to Schiphol, Amsterdam, operated by KLM, and flights to Aberdeen operated by Eastern Airways will not be affected, the airport said.

Flybe flights operated on behalf of CITS to Jersey will also continue.

DTVA managing director Steve Gill said the airport was being re-positioned, with the focus in the future being on scheduled flights, and aviation and non-aviation businesses based at the airport.

He said the company was aiming to create a bespoke business and general aviation airport, adding: “Small regional airports have been shutting or are facing challenging circumstances across the country and we are at the forefront of an evolving model for their future.”

Mr Gill said the airport would now look to increase the number of scheduled flight destinations.

“We will reset our priorities and provide additional marketing funds and activity to not only boost load factors on existing services but also to increase the number of business services.

“This is more achievable than trying to chase the charter market.”

He said that by cancelling charter flights the airport could reduce its costs in areas such as aviation-related fees, rates, utilities and security, with the smaller terminal opening to coincide with the arrival or departure of flights rather than 24-hours.

The level of fire cover would be maintained, as would the airport infrastructure including the instrument landing system, Mr Gill added.

About 40 per cent of the terminal building will be mothballed, with a new executive lounge planned and a replacement duty free shop and other retail outlets to open.

KLM is working with the airport on the changes to the terminal, bosses said.

The confirmation of the switch in focus comes as the airport finalises its master plan, which will set out how the business will move forward over the next two decades.

The plan is due to be released for consultation in mid-November.

Reacting to the changes, Stockton South Conservative MP James Wharton said: “I have done everything I can to support the airport but this news is a real blow.

“Although welcome that business flights and the KLM service to Schiphol will be retained, the owners risk making a big mistake pushing away holiday business.”

Alex Cunningham, Labour MP for Stockton North, said MPs would be watching closely to ensure the airport delivered its plans.

He added: “Whilst I understand the reasons behind the company’s plans, I very much regret both the loss of jobs and holiday flights both of which will affect people throughout the Tees Valley and beyond.”

The airport is advising anyone who has booked holiday flights to Palma, Ibiza or Bulgaria for 2014 flying from Durham Tees Valley Airport to contact their tour operator or travel agent for advice.

Comments (6)

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4:19pm Wed 30 Oct 13

DarloXman says...

"The restructuring is part of an airport master plan to be released for consultation in mid-November."

Wonder how much Peel will be asking the Tax Payer for this time?

Sorry - but don't believe a word of it!
"The restructuring is part of an airport master plan to be released for consultation in mid-November." Wonder how much Peel will be asking the Tax Payer for this time? Sorry - but don't believe a word of it! DarloXman
  • Score: 21

4:20pm Wed 30 Oct 13

David Lacey says...

Madness!!!
Madness!!! David Lacey
  • Score: 18

5:17pm Wed 30 Oct 13

DaveyR says...

This is a very sinister decision, what it means is the level of fire cover can now be reduced. The size of the aircraft dictates the level of cover, and KLM etc operate smaller jets with less than 100 seats so firemen will go. Also, the Duty Free Shop has closed, and security will be cut back to accommodate the smaller throughput of passengers, this also has a knock on effect on airside operations such as less baggage handlers and security. The currently very busy Air Traffic Controllers may be under threat, its a busy area with Military and civil down to General Aviation to separate, who knows?? It would be interesting to get a reasoned argument from Peel holdings, the business logic seems illogical, reduce turnover and make more profit just doesn't add up??
This is a very sinister decision, what it means is the level of fire cover can now be reduced. The size of the aircraft dictates the level of cover, and KLM etc operate smaller jets with less than 100 seats so firemen will go. Also, the Duty Free Shop has closed, and security will be cut back to accommodate the smaller throughput of passengers, this also has a knock on effect on airside operations such as less baggage handlers and security. The currently very busy Air Traffic Controllers may be under threat, its a busy area with Military and civil down to General Aviation to separate, who knows?? It would be interesting to get a reasoned argument from Peel holdings, the business logic seems illogical, reduce turnover and make more profit just doesn't add up?? DaveyR
  • Score: 13

6:38pm Wed 30 Oct 13

Darloresident says...

Death by a thousand cuts...
Death by a thousand cuts... Darloresident
  • Score: 9

8:24pm Fri 1 Nov 13

Buns42 says...

Peal could not run a **** up in a brewery they said in the Evening Gazette that they had started on a new hanger for the police helicopter . No planning application made yes they are full of **** .
Peal could not run a **** up in a brewery they said in the Evening Gazette that they had started on a new hanger for the police helicopter . No planning application made yes they are full of **** . Buns42
  • Score: 0

6:23am Sun 24 Nov 13

Guy Fawkes says...

Until I emigrated to the United States last summer, I flew from MME (via Amsterdam) around once a month for the previous decade or so as a business traveller. Living in York, it was quicker to get to than any airport that offered direct flights to the places my work took me, and the easy (though expensive) parking and short queues for check-in and security more than made up for the time spent on an extra connection at AMS. However, for the last few years I made these trips, the planes were barely half full: 20-30 people on one of those KLM Fokkers was typical. I'm astonished that KLM didn't pull the route, and hope that things start to look up for it.

However, I suspect that the management are making the right decision in walking away from the charter and budget airline trade. MME is virtually inaccessible by public transport and it doesn't have the facilities that holidaymakers typically expect - lots of eateries and duty free type places, basically. Furthermore, leisure travellers are more willing than business travellers to make a longer overland journey to the airport if that means a cheaper flight (whereas business travellers are more willing to spend money to save time), and with the rail links and cheap parking that NCL and MAN can offer (not to mention their size), Teesside is never going to be able to compete with them in this market effectively. And the £6 surcharge that you have to cough up to go through security is a real turn-off for leisure travellers. Silly, I know, as they'd cheerfully spend three times that on a train ticket to an airport further afield to avoid it, but when I was travelling out of MME, the number of complaints and protests I heard from holiday families after being told that they had to buy their £6 surcharge tickets before being allowed through security was amazing. This alone must have killed a lot of the airport's leisure traffic.
Until I emigrated to the United States last summer, I flew from MME (via Amsterdam) around once a month for the previous decade or so as a business traveller. Living in York, it was quicker to get to than any airport that offered direct flights to the places my work took me, and the easy (though expensive) parking and short queues for check-in and security more than made up for the time spent on an extra connection at AMS. However, for the last few years I made these trips, the planes were barely half full: 20-30 people on one of those KLM Fokkers was typical. I'm astonished that KLM didn't pull the route, and hope that things start to look up for it. However, I suspect that the management are making the right decision in walking away from the charter and budget airline trade. MME is virtually inaccessible by public transport and it doesn't have the facilities that holidaymakers typically expect - lots of eateries and duty free type places, basically. Furthermore, leisure travellers are more willing than business travellers to make a longer overland journey to the airport if that means a cheaper flight (whereas business travellers are more willing to spend money to save time), and with the rail links and cheap parking that NCL and MAN can offer (not to mention their size), Teesside is never going to be able to compete with them in this market effectively. And the £6 surcharge that you have to cough up to go through security is a real turn-off for leisure travellers. Silly, I know, as they'd cheerfully spend three times that on a train ticket to an airport further afield to avoid it, but when I was travelling out of MME, the number of complaints and protests I heard from holiday families after being told that they had to buy their £6 surcharge tickets before being allowed through security was amazing. This alone must have killed a lot of the airport's leisure traffic. Guy Fawkes
  • Score: 0

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