THE first has arrived in the region as part of a new operation to store and maintain planes at a North-East airport.

Global aviation firm Willis Asset Management Limited has established a base in the region after leasing two hangars at Teesside International Airport.

It means it can house aircraft and parts while carrying out maintenance, storage and disassembly of a wide variety of aircraft.

The first plane to go into storage will be a Boeing 737, which has flown into Teesside from Oslo.

It will remain at Willis' base for storage throughout the coming months.

Further aircraft are expected to arrive over the coming weeks as Willis steps up its operations.

The first phase of the base’s development is seeing the potential creation of about 20 highly skilled engineering and management jobs.

There is also further opportunity for expansion in phase two, with the possible development of additional hangar facilities.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “I’m delighted to see the first aircraft fly into the new Willis maintenance base just three months after we announced the deal had been struck.

“Our airport is hugely important to our economy and it’s key to my plan for jobs.

"We are just at the beginning of Willis developing its base which will develop into a fantastic asset for our airport, creating more good quality jobs for local workers."