One year on from Teesside Airport being taken into public hands, Mayor Ben Houchen describes why the site’s future is so important for the Tees Valley’s prosperity – and how The Northern Echo’s new Teesside edition will help to bang the drum for the region.

EXACTLY one year ago today, I secured the long-term future of our airport and saved it from closure. It was a commitment I made to the people of Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool when I was elected, and I delivered exactly what I told them I would.

In the months that followed, we have made brilliant progress. We have appointed an excellent new operator, brought back the much-loved Teesside International name, seen the return of holiday flights for the first time in five years, the first flights to Spain in seven years, and the best KLM flight numbers to Amsterdam for 14 years.

The Northern Echo:

But today’s announcement of new routes across the UK and Ireland is the most significant moment so far in securing the long-term future for our airport.

I know the Dublin and Belfast flights will be hugely popular, whether the route is used for business purposes or holidaymakers.

Today is a huge moment for the future of our airport, and it is really exciting that we can reveal these flights in a brand-new newspaper for the region.

A newspaper that, like me, will always put the interests of Teesside first.

The Northern Echo has been a brilliant campaigning newspaper for the region, and it is only fitting that in the year it celebrates its 150th birthday, they are launching a new title focusing on our brilliant part of the world.

The Northern Echo:

It would also be fitting, on this momentous day for our airport, that I pay tribute to the part The Northern Echo played in backing my pledge to take back control of our airport.

It was thanks to the stance they took and the messages of support I received from readers that helped to get everyone on board with my plan and persuade critics to give me their support.

This is a hugely exciting time for Teesside. Alongside the success we are seeing at our airport, we’ve got the return of the Tees Valley Airshow to look forward to – and don’t forget the arrival of The Killers later this year at the Riverside Stadium and the Rugby League World Cup in 2021.

I have always said that, as the Mayor of the Tees Valley, I will bang the drum for our region and fight for what is best for the people of Teesside.

It is fantastic that we now have a new Teesside edition of The Northern Echo that will also do exactly that.