HOLIDAY flights are set to fly from Durham Tees Valley Airport for the first time in five years. 

On Saturday, May 25 a chartered flight to Bulgaria will mark the start of the first season of holiday flights since 2014.

Balkan Holidays, who have introduced a full-programme of flights to Bulgaria, said they would also return for a second season in 2020.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen welcomed Balkan Holidays and cited that it was a 'key part' of the Tees Valley Combined Authority's 10-year rescue plan.

He said: “The more people that use and support this airport, the greater we can become and continue to add exciting leisure destinations such as Bourgas.

“The appetite for these flights is plain to see with such a strong sales performance and I must thank Balkan Holidays for putting its faith in what we are trying to achieve at our airport by already confirming summer 2020 holidays."

Since his election in 2017, Mr Houchen pledged to bring the airport back into public hands after a severe decline in passenger numbers over a decade.

The Northern Echo: Ben Houchen pledged to save the airport as part of his campaignBen Houchen pledged to save the airport as part of his campaign

Mr Houchen added: “Enthusiastic responses to trips like these will support our 10 Year Rescue Plan to secure even more exciting, affordable destinations in the future.

"Flying from our local airport will save you money, plus hours of extra travel and terminal time.”

FlyBe and KLM operate direct daily flights from Durham Tees Valley Airport to Amsterdam, Humberside, Jersey and Aberdeen.

Thomson Airways, now TUI, ceased their holiday flights to Palma and Ibiza from the airport in 2014. 

Louise Newton of Balkan Holidays said: “We are delighted to see such a popular response in sales and we will be running a second series of flights which this week we will be putting on sale.

“Balkan Holidays offers the best overall value summer sun holidays, especially when compared to other destinations whose prices continue to increase.

"We look forward strengthening our partnership with Durham Tees Valley Airport.”