Durham Tees Valley Airport to officially go back under public ownership in £40m deal

The airport will now officially go back under public ownership after a deal was approved. Credit: ITV News

The public acquisition of Durham Tees Valley Airport has officially been approved by the Tees Valley Combined Authority.

All five labour councils that make up the Combined Authority - Darlington Borough Council, Hartlepool Borough Council, Middlesbrough Council, Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council and Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council - voted to approve a ten year investment plan.

The £40million acquisition of Durham Tees Valley Airport was part of the ten-year investment plan.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen pledged to buy back the airport. Credit: ITV News

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen, who campaigned heavily for the airport to be brought back under public ownership, welcomed the Combined Authority's approval.

He Tweeted: "IT'S OFFICIAL: Teesside Airport will now return to public ownership. Promise delivered."

The airport was bought from Peel Holdings Limited. A statement from the company welcomed the news that the purchase had been approved.

In a statement Peel Holdings said: "We welcome the decision of the Tees Valley Local Authority leaders to support the proposal by the Elected Mayor to create a business plan designed to develop the economic benefits of the regional economy and its communities, by securing the future of Durham Tees Valley Airport."

"We have been working hard with the Mayor to ensure a smooth transition once the sale has been concluded. Following today's decision, we will continue to work with the Mayor and the Combined Authority to assist in completing the process."

MP for Middlesbrough Andy McDonald was critical of the airport deal. Credit: PA Images

However, news of the airport being bought was not universally welcomed, with strong criticism coming from Labour shadow secretary of state for transport Andy McDonald MP.

Mr McDonald, MP for Middlesbrough, said in a statement he understood the Labour council leaders' decision but still had concerns.

He said: "I totally get the emotional case for Tees Valley having its own airport. In the wider sense, there is also a powerful economic case.

"Undoubtedly there is a case for saying that it makes us more attractive for investment. I want us to have an airport and I want it to succeed.

"That is what my heart says but I would be failing in my duty if I did not voice my concerns, not only at the deal itself in terms of the commercial and financial case, but also how the deal has been fashioned by Mayor Ben Houchen.

"Looking closely at the proposed airport deal, I don't think we can simply suspend proper scrutiny and due diligence here."

Mr McDonald also added that Peel Holdings must be "laughing all the way to the bank."