A GROUP of aircraft owners who have been using a hangar at a North East airport for more than 40 years say they have been evicted after a promise to build a new base for them was suddenly abandoned.

The DTVA Private Aircraft Owners organisation has hit out at Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen, accusing him of breaching a promise to support them at their base at Teesside Airport.

Managing Director John Elliot told him: "As an aviation community that had been loyal and supportive to the airport for over 40 years and resident in Hangar 3,  we feel that the treatment we suffered over the past nine months including breach of the promise made and constant categoric assurances given in writing, were not professional and far from that expected of a public organisation serving the people of Teesside."

Read more: Ben Houchen and Heathrow bosses clash over Teesside flight

In another letter the group told him: "At a stroke you have destroyed over 50 years of general aviation at the airport. All for the sake of a development that has little or no use since it was completed."

Last week, a row between Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen and the bosses of Heathrow, the UK's biggest airport, escalated as the fall out from the cancellation of a flight from Teesside intensifies. 

Mr Houchen said Heathrow bosses "didn’t even have the decency" to respond to a letter from Teesside Airport, but Mr Elliot said this was an example of "double standards" from the politician. 

"I suggest that before you criticise others on their honesty and commitment to undertakings, you look to yourself and those in your command," he said in his letter.

The Northern Echo: Hangar 3 is top right of this aerial view of the airportHangar 3 is top right of this aerial view of the airport

Mr Elliott told The Northern Echo: "We pay rent and rates for the hangar, and have never defaulted so it's not as if we are asking for something for nothing. Some of the group have moved their planes to other sites, but others are just sitting outside at Teesside."

It is understood that the existing hangar is to be used for freight handling and not plane storage, but the letter to the mayor from Mr Elliott, Company Secretary Lyn Vine and Hangar Manager Ken Large says they were told plans were proceeding for a replacement.

They said: "The promise of General Aviation Hangars was made by the Airport in May 2021, and confirmed in writing, when H3 was required for other purposes . During the whole of the ensuing nine months frequent and categorical assurances were given by your Airport Staff and Managing Director  that the scheme was in progress and only delays were due to only technical and planning issues."

The Northern Echo:

Butr the group says that in January they were told that it would cost £1million to replace the building, so it would not be going ahead after all.

The members even responded with an alternative building plan for around £300,000, but that options was not taken up by airport bosses.

They told Mr Houchen: "You have stated publicly only recently that you expect the Prime Minister to keep promises made to you and Teesside. We would expect no less from you, as an honourable man, in regard to the airport which we know is so dear to your heart."

Phil Forster, Managing Director of Teesside International Airport, suggested there could still be a solution, saying: “The General Aviation community has been a longstanding supporter of Teesside Airport and we have had numerous discussions with them over their base at our site.

"We are keen to work with the group to identify a credible and cost-efficient plan.”

Keep up to date with all the latest news on our website, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

You can also follow our dedicated Teesside Facebook page for all the latest in the area by clicking here.

For all the top news updates from right across the region straight to your inbox, sign up to our newsletter here.

Have you got a story for us? Contact our newsdesk on newsdesk@nne.co.uk or contact 01325 505054