The Northern Echo’s Level Up campaign continues to grow as the North East begins one of its most exciting phases - with Teesside International Airport agreeing to become our ninth partner.

MD Phil Forster has shown his determination to bring the airport back into the mainstream winning Airport of the Year at the recent Travel Trade Gazette Awards and unveiling huge plans for the 800 acres of land around his airport.

Principle airlines providing services at the airport now include KLM, Ryanair and Loganair. KLM provides multiple daily global connectivity via its Amsterdam Schiphol hub.

Loganair operates flights across the UK and Ireland, TUI operates weekly flights to Majorca and Ryanair, Europe’s No 1 Airline, offers summer sun with multiple locations across the Mediterranean plus year-round connections to Spain. An additional programme of holiday charter flights also operate from the airport.

So Phil has been hard at work, and is looking forward to joining the Level Up team and continuing that message of growth, investment and positivity.

“I think the team at The Northern Echo have done a fantastic job of getting this on the agenda. I think it’s massively important. Obviously we as an airport are delighted to now be part of it because while I usually keep politics out of this, I believe Teesside and indeed Teesside Airport has benefitted from a levelling up strategy, although clearly there’s still a lot more to be done.

The Northern Echo: Phil Forster, MD at Teesside Airport. Picture by Terry BlackburnPhil Forster, MD at Teesside Airport. Picture by Terry Blackburn (Image: freelance)

“I think the reason we wanted to join is because we see the airport as a key player in the region. Whether it’s for business purposes or leisure purposes we bring jobs and boost the GVA to help that vital economic regeneration.

“So for us it’s massively important that we’re in that conversation and can stand shoulder to shoulder with fellow businesses to ensure that the North East continues to prosper.

“I think people looking from outside at our region will do so with envy because of what’s going on here. We all know it is one of the best places in the world to live but I think now you can really see a whole different side to it.

“Whether they are talking about Teesside, the Tees Valley or the North East, there is so much going on that is changing this place, from the UK’s first and largest operational freeport to the people, the government departments. It really is such an exciting time.

The Northern Echo: Join us at Ramside HallJoin us at Ramside Hall (Image: Newsquest)

“For us it is the perfect time to join Level Up and I think the big thing is that businesses and the people of the North East will be the ones to ensure that we work together to grasp the opportunity that’s been given, because it may only come around once. We have to collaborate to make sure we all reap the benefits.

“But I also see it as a good chance to hear from business leaders as well about what they think of the airport’s performance and facilities. There may be things they want to see different from us – you never know where these meetings can lead.

“I could get talking to someone about what’s going on with the business park and they might be looking for expansion, that’s why it is so good to get into a room with like-minded people who all have the same objectives – ensuring that we’re looking after the North East."

  • The next Level Up live event is on Thursday in Stockton - for free tickets, click HERE