AIRPORT bosses tonight (Friday, October 19) expressed their “acute disappointment” at the Government’s decision to reject a bid for regeneration cash.

However, Durham Tees Valley Airport (DTVA) chiefs said they remained committed to the Southside freight terminal development – despite the failure of the £5.9m Regional Growth Fund (RGF) application.

DTVA chairman Robert Hough said the company would be demanding an explanation from ministers after the RGF bid was turned down.

In a statement issued after the bid was discussed at the airport’s monthly management meeting yesterday, Mr Hough said: “The airport has now been notified officially that the Regional Growth Fund bid for £5.9m in support of the Southside development was unsuccessful. “The directors expressed acute disappointment and will be seeking an explanation for the decision.”

However, Mr Hough said the board had reaffirmed its commitment to pursuing the Southside scheme which he said was “vital to providing sustainable aviation at the airport”.

Councillor Bob Cook, leader of Stockton Borough Council, said the six local authority airport shareholders were “incredibly disappointed” that the bid was unsuccessful.

He added: “Durham Tees Valley Airport is an integral part of the Tees Valley economy and helps support local firms in attracting new business and accessing new markets.

“We remain committed to working closely with Peel Holdings as well as Tees Valley Unlimited to support the airport’s development and sustainability."

Asked about the bid’s failure during a visit to successful RGF applicants yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said the Government had asked companies to “jump through hoops” to prove they would put the money to good use.

He added: “It’s about investing in local success and using the taxpayers’ money sensibly and wisely."

It was hoped the £5.9m scheme, which would take ten years to complete and create up to 1,500 jobs, could breathe new life into the airport, which was close to going out of business last year amid falling passenger numbers.

The plan to launch a freight operation at DTVA was hailed by local MPs when it was announced in June.