A GROUP of friends who have been using a hangar at Teesside Airport as a base for their love of flying for more than 40 years are now looking for a new site after a furious row with airport bosses and Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen.

The DTVA Private Aircraft Owners group based in Eaglescliffe is a partnership of owners who helped to run the admin side of the Second World War hangar they had used for more than 40 years.

Some members own their own planes and some share ownership so they can fly as often as possible.

Read more: Aircraft owners evicted from Teesside Airport after 40 years

When the group started it needed somewhere to store their planes where they could do some work on them and keep them out of bad weather. They found Hangar 3 at Teesside and have paid rent and rates on it ever since, even offering to help run it to help out airport authorities.

But now the base is being used to handle freight brought into the airport and the club has been told their time there is up. The group's MD John Elliot says they were promised a new hangar at the airport, but after delays apparently due to technical and planning issues, costs spiralled to more than £1million and the airport pulled the plug on the plans.

Desperate members then submitted their own plan for a new hangar at about a third of the cost, but the offer was never taken up by the airport and they had to start looking for new safe sites.

That challenging search means some planes are still stuck outside waiting for a move.

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.”

But Managing Director John 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."

In letters to Mr Houchen, Mr Elliott said: "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.

The Northern Echo: Teesside International AirportTeesside International Airport

"At a stroke you have destroyed over 50 years of general aviation at the airport."

Last week, a row between Mayor 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 Elliott 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.

He told Mr Houchen: "You have stated publicly only recently that you expect the Prime Minsiter 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."


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