1. ITV Report

First holiday flight in five years takes off from Durham Tees Valley Airport

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen with The Balkan Holidays flight crew

The first holiday destination flight for five years has taken off from Durham Tees Valley Airport.

The plane set off for Bulgaria on Saturday morning, coinciding with the start of the school half-term holidays.

Balkan Holidays is the company behind the new routes. The flight operator has introduced a full programme of summer holiday charter flights to Bulgaria. The country was voted ‘the world’s best value holiday destination’ in a 2019 Post Office Survey.

Last week Balkan Holidays announced it will continue to provide flights from Durham Tees Valley to Bulgaria in the summer of 2020. The company is this year operating a weekly service to Bourgas, taking in popular beach resorts such as Sunny Beach, Nessebar and Golden Sands.

While the first flight wasn't at full capacity, almost all seats were booked up. After a slight delay to take off, the flight got underway.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said:

Balkan Holidays has shown confidence in our airport by bringing the first holiday flights for five years, and the response has been incredible.

I’m delighted so many people have supported these breaks, allowing Balkan to start selling for 2020 already.

This first flight isn’t just take-off for the passengers onboard, it’s also take-off for our 10-year rescue plan to deliver holiday flights from our international airport.”

– Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen

Louise Newton, Balkan Holidays, said:

This is a great start to our exciting relationship with the airport and Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen, and we hope all of our customers have a fantastic time and make the most of the half-term holidays.”

– Louise Newton, Balkan Holidays