A CONTROVERSIAL decision to rename an airport will be reversed by the Tees Valley Mayor, it has been revealed, after thousands of people backed his plan.

Ben Houchen will change the name of Durham Tees Valley Airport to Teesside International Airport if his deal to acquire the site is approved next year.

An online poll has been completed by 14,000 people – with 93 per cent supporting a rebrand back to the airport’s pre-2004 name.


The Northern Echo also understands the airport's proposed new operator will be the Stobart Group, who support the name change.

The leaders of the five Tees Valley authorities will today be briefed about the business case and turnaround plan for the airport, which will include details of how the site will attract more airlines and flights, before they are released to the public next year ahead of the final vote.


In a briefing note to Durham County Councillors seen by the Echo, Cllr Carl Marshall, portfolio holder for economic regeneration at the authority, said they "support investment" to make the site a "thriving airport", which would result in a "huge boost" to the local economy.

Mr Houchen revealed earlier this month a £40m deal had been agreed to buy Peel Airport's 89 per cent majority shareholding, made up of £35m for the airport and £5m for land with planning permission for 350 houses, which will be scrapped as part of the deal.

If approved next year, the plans would bring the airport back into public ownership for the first time since it was sold to Peel in 2003.

However, the deal could yet be thwarted by the five Labour council leaders of Darlington, Middlesbrough, Stockton, Hartlepool and Redcar and Cleveland, who have to approve it.

Mr Houchen, who warned the airport could close in 2021 if his deal is rejected, said the money would come from the £513m pot that was devolved from central government to the Tees Valley.


Speaking about the results of the poll, he said: “If the people get to own this airport, it’s only fair they decide what it should be called.

"International investment doesn’t arrive on a bus, it arrives through an airport terminal. Our airport name should reflect a brand people know and understand."

The decision to change the name was made by Peel in 2004, with those behind it saying 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 said: "Durham Tees Valley’ is a made-up name. It doesn’t exist, and when I speak to international investors they don’t know where it is either.

“It’s even more embarrassing for me to tell investors they have to go to Manchester or Newcastle airports and drive to get here.

"We are not the poor relation of Newcastle and Manchester, and we deserve to have our own thriving international airport.”

An emergency meeting of the Tees Valley Combined Authority Cabinet to vote on the Mayor’s plan will take place at 10am on Thursday, January 24 and will be open to the public.

Mr Houchen added: “I don’t want to give the Labour council leaders any excuses to reject this plan.

“Today the council leaders will see everything we have, they will meet our new operator, and they will see why taking back control of our airport is the right and proper thing to do.

"We have a plan to attract more airlines, more flights, and then we will have a full commercial redevelopment of the 819 acres which will bring more investment, more jobs and really see this airport take-off.

“If the council leaders vote for my plan, we will secure our airport’s future for generations to come.

"If they reject my plan, our airport could close in 2021 – it’s as simple as that. There is no alternative.”