A CONTROVERSIAL decision to rename an airport has officially been reversed by the Tees Valley Mayor this morning.

Durham Tees Valley Airport has been renamed once again and reverted back to Teesside International Airport.

The Northern Echo:

An online poll carried out last year, which had been completed by 14,000 people – saw 93 per cent support for the rebrand back to the airport’s pre-2004 name.

It also follows a lengthy dispute to re-name the airport which was finally resolved after businessman Chris Joseph, who had asked the TVCA to pay £250,000 for the intellectual rights to Teesside Airport he bought in 2015, relinquished the ownership of the name on the back of "personal attacks".

Mr Houchen accused Mr Joseph of acting in bad faith and “holding Teessiders to ransom” after the combined authority was asked to cough up the six-figure sum for his intellectual rights.

The new logo uses the original colours of the airport from before the 2004 rebrand of blue and green, incorporating into the design one of Teesside’s most famous natural landmarks, Roseberry Topping.

To ensure value for money, the rebranding and design was done in-house working closely with the airport’s operator, Stobart Aviation. The new signage was produced by Shutter Media Ltd based at the airport, in line with the Mayor’s commitment to work with local companies and suppliers wherever possible.

Mr Houchen said: “We bought back our airport just over four months ago, as I promised we would, and now I’m delighted to re-launch it today under its rightful name of Teesside International.

“The people of Teesside voted overwhelmingly to change our airport’s name back and I’ve delivered it for them.

The Northern Echo:

“Despite my job title, I know that people prefer Teesside to Tees Valley. When I speak to international investors they don’t know where Durham Tees Valley is either. For me, our airport name should reflect a brand people know and understand.

“This is a cheap and cheerful rebrand designed in-house and hasn’t been dreamt up by an expensive London PR agency. We’ve gone back to the airport’s old colours and incorporated Roseberry Topping – our region’s most famous natural landmark.

“Last week we announced the first flights to Spain from this airport for seven years. We’re making good progress on our 10 Year Rescue Plan to restore Teesside International to its former glory.”

Kate Willard, Director of Partnership Development, Stobart Group, added: “This is an exciting day for the Tees Valley region, especially for Ben and his team, who have made such a major commitment to building a successful airport. 

“Returning the airport to its original name is an important and symbolic milestone in that journey.  From our experience of successfully operating London Southend Airport and Carlisle Lake District Airport, we know how vital local support is in the success of an airport.

“Becoming Teesside International Airport once again will ensure not only a strong connection with the area, but also help raise awareness of the exciting opportunity the airport offers within the wider travel industry. This can help us attract more airlines and partners to work with us, ultimately improving the service we can offer to passengers.”

The Northern Echo:

Last week, Mr Houchen confirmed Spanish flights would return to the airport after a seven year absence, following an agreement with JetsGo Holidays to provide a route to Majorca next summer.

The agreement with JetsGo Holidays is the first secured as part of the new partnership with Stobart Aviation which took over operation of Durham Tees Valley Airport in March 2019.

The Northern Echo also understands Mr Houchen remains in talks with airports in London to try and secure direct flights to the capital, as well as possible future routes in Ireland.

Last year, Mr Houchen brought the airport back into public ownership for the first time since it was sold to Peel in 2003.