DURHAM Tees Valley Airport has passed back into the ownership of the Peel Group.

Peel Airports Limited has sold its majority shareholding in the airport to Peel Investments (DTVA) Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Peel Group.

Peel Airports Ltd is 65 per cent owned by Vantage Airport Group (formerly Vancouver Airport Services) and 35 per cent by The Peel Group.

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Peel Investments (DTVA) Limited is now the majority shareholder in DTVA, with the remaining minority shareholding continuing to be owned by the six local authorities.

This change of ownership will mean it will be business as usual for airport employees, airlines and passengers using the airport, the Peel Group says.

Craig Richmond, chief executive officer of Peel Airports Ltd, said: “Since announcing in December 2011 that we were seeking a buyer for our shareholding in the airport, we appreciate this has been a period of uncertainty for the staff, our airline customers, passengers and for the region as a whole.

“I am therefore pleased that we have been able to conclude this sale process, with our partners the Peel Group purchasing our shareholding and continuing to maintain the airport’s operational activities.”

Peter Nears, strategic planning director for the Peel Group, said: “We have seen significant interest and support for the airport from across the region during this difficult period and are looking forward to capitalising on this support and working with stakeholders in the region going forward.”

Sedgefield MP Phil Wilson: "It is good news. At least the airport is being kept open as going concern rather than going into administration, so we must look at it as a glass that is half full. But I still believe the airport is facing problems which Peel needs to address.

"I will be seeking an urgent meeting with Peel to see what will happen in the future because it is an important economic asset to the Tees Valley. Businesses, politicians, local people and the airport have to work together to ensure its success."

Stockton South MP James Wharton has also reacted to the news.

He said: “Hopefully, Peel Investments will now be able to make a success of this important piece of our regional transport infrastructure.

“We all want to see Teesside continue as a passenger airport and be as successful as possible, we must all now pull behind the new owners and encourage them to ensure it becomes the commercial success it should always have been.

“Peel’s previous track record was not great but this is a chance to put that right and get Teesside Airport back on the right track.”

See tomorrow's The Northern Echo for the full story and reaction.