Teesside Airport has welcomed huge expansion plans by Ryanair, which could potentially bring a new base to the region.

Ryanair is set to create 5,000 jobs over the next five years as the budget airline plans its recovery, and also said it will open ten new bases across Europe this year, but hasn't yet announced where they will be.

In June, Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said there was a long term ambition for Ryanair to set up a base at Teesside Airport, creating new jobs, but the airline later announced it was opening a base at Newcastle Airport.

Mr Houchen then said he was confident Teesside's relationship with Ryanair would "continue to grow" but did not answer questions about what the airline's announcement would mean for a future base at the airport.

Read more: Ryanair chooses Newcastle for new base

He said then: "Our relationship with Ryanair goes from strength to strength. In the short time they’ve operated from Teesside International they’ve not only increased the number of destinations served but also committed to flying all year round."

After the latest news of Ryanair expansion, a spokesperson for Teesside Airport told The Northern Echo: “It’s great news to see airlines starting to look at expansion plans after a tough couple of years. We continue to hold discussions with a number of airlines to look at bringing more new routes into Teesside, so local people and businesses have more choice to support their local airport.

“Over the past few weeks we’ve seen a significant increase in passengers coming through the doors again. Our airport is so much more than just flights to Alicante, behind new routes are new jobs supporting families and the local community. This summer we’ve welcomed 34 new people to the team and this number will continue to grow as our airport does.”

The Northern Echo: Ryanair boss Michael O'LearyRyanair boss Michael O'Leary

The Ryanair plans comes after the company announced at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic that it would lay off 3,000 workers due to the crisis.

But chief executive Michael O’Leary said the carrier is in a better position and has been snapping up slots vacated by collapsed airlines due to coronavirus hitting the industry hard.

Read more: Airline's route from Teesside to end

Speaking ahead of the company’s annual shareholder meeting, he said: “Ryanair will open ten new bases across Europe this year as we work with airport partners to help them recover traffic and jobs post-Covid, and take up slot opportunities that are being vacated by competitor airlines who have collapsed or significantly reduced their fleet sizes.

“Ryanair expects to create over 5,000 new jobs for pilots, cabin crew and engineers over the next five years, and the group is excited to have, earlier this week, opened a 50 million euro (£43 million) Aviation Training Centre in Dublin, with two further high-quality training centres planned for Spain and Poland over the next five years.”

He added: “We can recover strongly from the Covid pandemic and deliver higher-than-expected growth in both traffic and jobs over the next five years.”

Ryanair also upgraded forecasts for growth over the next five years, with projections that passenger numbers will grow by 50%, compared with 33% previously predicted.

Bosses said they now expect to fly 225 million passengers by March 2026 – 25 million more than previous targets.


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