Teesside International Airport is riding on the crest of a £20m wave following the announcement it has chosen a backer to finance long-term development plans.

Peel Holdings, the group behind the John Lennon Airport in Liverpool and Manchester's Trafford Centre, will manage a 75 per cent stake in the airport on the outskirts of Darlington.

The firm plans to radically improve and extend Teesside's tired-looking terminal building and upgrade signage directing travellers to the site.

Airport managing director Hugh Lang said: "The local authorities, supported by the airport management, began the process of securing a private sector strategic partner because we believed it was the most viable option for securing the levels of investment needed for the key projects which will enable the airport to maximise its own potential - and contribute to the regeneration of the communities it serves."

The decision to appoint Peel as strategic partner is expected to be fully ratified in March.