A NORTH-EAST airport which has recently returned to public ownership has unveiled its top management and oversight team.

Durham Tees Valley Airport has announced Phil Foster will join as head of airport development from Leeds Bradford Airport, and David Soley – chairman of Cameron’s Brewery in Hartlepool - will become non-executive chairman of the airport company, an unpaid position.

The moves, overseen by Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen, bring more experience to the airport and its oversight just weeks after the airport was brought back under public ownership and following the appointment of Stobart Group as airport operator in March.

Mr Houchen said: “If we’re going to make our airport the success we know it can be, we need the right team in place who are ready for the fight ahead.

“In addition to our partnership with Stobart Group, we’re bulking up the airport’s management team to properly deliver our 10 Year Rescue Plan to create more jobs, secure more flights and safeguard our airport’s future for generations to come.

“Working with our fantastic existing airport staff, our new management team will work hand-in-glove with Stobart Group to utilise their unrivalled experience in aviation and strong relationships with major airlines to make our airport fly again.”

Kate Willard, director of partnership development at Stobart Group, said: “We are delighted to be working with the airport, the mayor, and this very experienced and strong management and oversight team.

"We believe Stobart’s industrial heritage, experience and credibility will help boost the airport.”

Earlier this month, MHA Tait Walker, based in Stockton, was selected to carry out work for the airport following a tendering process that was restricted to companies based in the Tees Valley at the request of Mr Houchen.

The appointment came after Mr Houchen vowed more Tees Valley companies would be used at the airport following its return to public ownership.

Last month, Teesside-based Close Protection Security were contracted to provide extra security on the airport site and in a further boost for the region, the airport is now looking for a North-East company to take over payroll services at the airport.

Last month, Mr Houchen said taxpayers were being 'held to ransom' over the rights to the name of Teesside Airport as he revealed details of a legal battle.

He said the move to change Durham Tees Valley's name to Teesside International Airport could take at least eighteen months and a lengthy legal battle after an advertising company asked for £250,000 to sell the trademark.