January 24 2020 @ 11:33 by Steven Hugill
Flights to the capital are returning to a North East airport.
Teesside International Airport officials have unveiled new services to London City Airport.
The blue-ribbon route spearheads a package of six new destinations at the site, which also includes flights to Dublin and daily direct connections to Belfast, Cardiff and Southampton.
The London flights mark a return of daily services to the capital from the airport for the first time in 11 years.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen, who brought the airport back into public ownership last year, said the additions “represent a massive vote of confidence in our airport and region.”
He added Eastern Airways, which already operates an Aberdeen service from the airport, will also increase flights to the Scottish city.
Mayor Houchen said: “Ever since we brought the airport back into public ownership, one of the biggest and most frequent questions we’ve been asked from businesses and local people has been when will direct flights to London return.
“For too long, we’ve lacked this most basic connection, which is why I’m delighted to announce new services which will bring the Tees Valley even closer to the capital with a twice-daily service.
“Our airport is hugely important to our local economy and the investment that will create the good quality, well-paid jobs we all want to see come to Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool won’t come on a bus, it will come via our airport terminal.
“This isn’t job done, this is the next stage in our ten-year rescue plan to secure the future of Teesside International.”
Kate Willard, of airport operator Stobart Aviation, added: “These major new routes are great news for the airport, its existing passengers and people across Tees Valley.
“It is very exciting that people can now enjoy the airport’s quick and easy passenger experience to reach even more destinations.
“We believe there is tremendous opportunity for continued growth at Teesside International and Stobart continues to be committed to its success.”