WITH Durham Tees Valley Airport losing £2m a year, its future is clearly in jeopardy. Peel Holdings, which has owned it since 2003, seems to have taken it as far as it can, so a new ownership model has to be found.

A model that doesn’t just look at profitability but which also takes into account the additional benefit that an airport can bring in terms of the number of jobs it creates, the inward investment it attracts and the boost it gives to an area’s reputation.

Oh, and it would be nice once again to be able to jet off on holiday from our doorstep.

It is strange that it is a Tory talking of nationalising the airport, so all those wider considerations can be added to the balance sheet, and many scoffed at Ben Houchen when he first proposed it.

He is to be congratulated for getting the popular move this far – but now it has to be passed by his Labour-controlled cabinet.

The council leaders clearly have to inspect his deal minutely. There are vast sums of public money at risk here.

With mayoral elections less than 18 months away, the temptation will be for party politics to become a huge factor in the deliberations, but those politics have to be put to one side and the deal voted for on its merits alone.

And, as with Brexit, if the deal on the table is not acceptable, what is the alternative? No deal in the Tees Valley could see the airport close in 2021. It would be very wrong if we were forced into no deal just because party politics wasn’t able to see the bigger picture.