THE new owner of Durham Tees Valley Airport (DTVA) has sought the help of politicians to secure a long-term future for the business.

The Peel Group has lobbied Shadow Transport Secretary Maria Eagle and Louise Ellman MP, chairwoman of the Commons Transport Select Committee, about the importance of the airport to the local economy.

Peter Nears, Peel’s strategic planning director, has also begun a round of meetings with the area’s MPs.

The move follows last week’s announcement that the Peel Group had taken back control of the airport.

Mr Nears said: “Since last Friday’s announcement of the change in share ownership, I have met with the Sedgefield MP Phil Wilson, who, during the debate on the Civil Aviation Bill now going through Parliament, urged the Government to look at the possibility of introducing a socalled public service obligation which would protect slots at Heathrow for a link to Durham Tees Valley.”

Topics discussed included the burden imposed through air passenger duty and a suggestion that the costs of inspections by the Civil Aviation Authority could be transferred to airports. Mr Nears said he would continue talks with local key figures.

Mr Wilson said: “I am pleased the new owner is seeking support from local politicians.

It is also important that business and local authorities in the Tees Valley pull together for the good of the airport.”

A DTVA board meeting was held on Tuesday where the future of the airport was discussed.

Six Tees Valley councils own a minority share in the airport.

Neil Schneider, chief executive of Stockton Borough Council, said: “Our priority is to focus on the airport’s sustainable future. We are waiting to hear if Durham Tees Valley Airport will accept our immediate offer of working with them to improve marketing of the important KLM flights from Durham Tees Valley to Schiphol.”

Mrs Ellman said it was important that the role of regional airports in promoting employment was recognised.

She added: “The Civil Aviation Bill, currently under discussion, must not impose financial burdens on airports like Durham Tees Valley Airport.”

Peel Investments (DTVA), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Peel Group, last week became the majority shareholder in the airport after purchasing Peel Airport’s stake.

Vantage Airport Group, formerly Vancouver Airport Services, bought a 65 per cent stake in Peel Airports from Peel Group in June last year.