ONE of the most contentious name changes in Teesside's history could be reversed as a public vote goes ahead on the future of Durham Tees Valley Airport.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has launched an online poll to allow the public to decide whether to change the name of the airport.

It is part of his £40m plan to acquire Peel Group's 89 per cent shareholding in Durham Tees Valley Airport and 819 acres of land and bring it back into public ownership – a deal which needs to be approved by the Tees Valley Combined Authority Cabinet next month to go ahead.

Following last week's announcement that a deal had been reached with Peel, the Mayor now wants people to decide whether the airport should revert back to its pre-2004 name of Teesside International.

He said: “If the people get to own this airport, it’s only fair they decide what it should be called.

“I know there are thousands of people in our region who want change the name back to Teesside International, and now I’m giving people that chance. Whatever you decide, I will deliver.”

Teesside International Airport changed its name to Durham Tees Valley by current owners Peel Group in September 2004. The reason given for the rebrand was that many of the airport's passengers, particularly those from outside the UK, were unfamiliar with the location of Teesside, whilst Durham was better known.


Mr Houchen added: “Since I secured a deal to bring our airport back into public ownership, I have been inundated with emails and messages from local people asking me to change the name back to Teesside International. If people decide that the name should be changed back to what it was, I will honour that decision.”

The Cabinet, chaired by Conservative Mr Houchen, is also made up of the Labour leaders of the five Tees Valley local authorities – Middlesbrough, Redcar & Cleveland, Hartlepool, Darlington, and Stockton-on-Tees.

An emergency meeting of the TVCA Cabinet will take place at 10am on Thursday January 24, and will be open to the public.

Mr Houchen says the airport purchase would be funded by money devolved to the area from central Government and would not affect council tax bills.

He added: “We have this money from central government to invest in our local economic priorities, and saving our airport is a local economic priority."

He also says before the vote he would be announcing an established UK airport operator who he says will run the airport and would be publishing the full business case including the risks.

Buying the airport was one of Mr Houchen's main election pledges and was initially met with some scepticism.

He said it would have no impact on local authority budgets, public services and businesses.

But Labour politicians have questioned whether £40m to buy a loss-making airport was a good use of public money.

Middlesbrough Mayor Dave Budd accused Mr Houchen of 'appalling' behaviour by not speaking to the Labour leaders of the councils in advance of the announcement about the airport – although the Tees Valley Mayor said the leaders were aware the day before. Mr Budd said the leaders had not been furnished with any of the details and found out from press reports.

He added that as far as he was concerned there was 'no plan' as he said he was waiting to be told.

To cast a vote, visit