We must fight to protect our airport

Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP, Tom Blenkinsop, today (14th December 2011) reacted to the news that the Peel Group are putting Durham Tees Valley Airport on the market by saying “we must fight to keep our airport alive”.

Tom said “It is concerning to see an airport like Teesside facing such challenges, and I really hope a suitable buyer for the airport can be found.

“It is vital for Teesside’s local businesses and shareholding local authorities that the airport stays afloat and that it is further developed”.

“My Labour Party colleague, Jenny Chapman MP, made a good point in Prime Minister’s Questions that some of the airport’s decline can be explained through the lack of disposable income in Teesside as unemployment skyrockets due to the Government’s failed economic policies. However, I think this airport – with its 1½-mile long runway and location near the A1(M) – has real potential to grow into a key air freight hub for North England, whilst I feel like the connection with Amsterdam Schipol could be further developed and promoted. I also feel, like most Teessiders, that reverting back to the airport’s old name would strengthen our area and the airport’s brand”.

“However, we cannot just hope that a buyer will emerge and rescue this airport; the Government must take swift and strong action to safeguard its future”.

“With David Cameron not knowing the airport’s name in his response to Jenny Chapman MP in Prime Ministers Questions today, I do not feel confident that the Government know what is going on here in Teesside, and unfortunately, I am far from convinced that they will take the action that is necessary. This is why I have asked an urgent question to Transport Secretary Justine Greening asking what steps she will be taking to safeguard the airport’s future”.

“Because I know how important this is for Teesside, I – alongside Darlington MP Jenny Chapman, Sedgefield MP Phil Wilson and Stockton MP Alex Cunningham – will be relentless in ensuring that the Government does all it can to help us protect the future of our local airport.”

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