WHAT’S in a name? Well, some would say quite a lot, while others may not agree. However, for Ben Houchen, a name is a great publicity stunt.

In living up to his election promise to return Durham Tees Valley Airport back to public ownership, Tees Valley’s elected Mayor Ben Houchen launched an online poll to give the public the chance to go back in time and rename the airport.

In response to Mr Houchen’s public relations caper, 14,000 people responded, supporting a rebrand back to the airport’s pre-2004 name.

It is true that many already still refer to it as Teesside Airport, and it is also the case that many road signs still point to Teesside Airport, but with the airport losing £2m a year, and its future clearly in jeopardy, is the name debate slightly superfluous?

It would be fantastic once again to be able to jet off on holiday from our doorstep, but it won’t be the name that attracts usage, it will be actual planes.

An airport’s reputation as a competent, customer-friendly hub will be the key factor in driving business, and while name and identity are valuable elements, they do not necessarily attract paying passengers.

The name of an airport is important and has a great impact on the community it serves, but Mr Houchen still has to get his proposals passed by his Labour-controlled cabinet, although how many of those leaders will now dare to ignore the public support for Mr Houchen’s plans?