AS fresh plans to develop Durham Tees Valley Airport (DTVA) are due to be published, Joe Willis looks back at previous schemes which failed to take off.

MOST visitors to DTVA see little more than the car park and terminal building, but beyond the fence can be found numerous businesses which have made the former RAF airfield their home.

It is these companies - and those yet to arrive – which it is hoped will secure the future of national and international flights to and from the Tees Valley.

The aim is to increase income into the airport by expanding existing companies and attracting new aviation-related firms to the site.

Although this is the first time a master plan has been drawn up for the airport, previous grand plans to develop the large areas of land around the runway and terminal have been published previously.

Back in 2003 after Peel bought the airport from local councils, Peter Nears, the man behind the new airport master plan, said the company wanted to develop 250 acres alongside the airfield into business and industrial parks - a plan which had already been proposed by the previous public sector owners.

Former airport managing director Hugh Lang said at the time that the benefits of developing the land at the south of the airport - known as the Southside scheme - were “unfathomable”.

More details were revealed two years later when the airport announced plans to create up to 2,500 jobs in a £56m scheme which included the creation of a hotel, air freight operation and business park. The following year, work on a £1.3m revamp of the terminal building took place.

However, in 2008 the £110m Skylink International Business Park was announced to replace the Southside project. Unfortunately this scheme too stalled at the drawing board stage due to a lack of funding and fears about the economic climate.

Fast forward to 2012 and the airport suffered another blow when Peel failed with a £5.9m bid to the Government's Regional Development Fund to resurrect the Southside freight operation. The following year a second bid for £4.65m from the same pot was again rejected.

Despite a decade of disappointment, hopes remain that the airport master plan due to be revealed next month will signal a viable new future for the airport.