Durham Tees Valley Airport chiefs have reacted angrily to claims they’ve given up on Teesside’s airport – after plans for a new £5m link road were approved.
Peel also says there are plans to expand operations at DTVA, just days after plans for a new road to link the A67 with the Southside Business Park were approved by Stockton and Darlington councils.
Peel expects the site to generate £11m a year for the local economy and create 3,000 jobs.
And the airport owners say passenger numbers, which are already increasing, are expected to rise again in the future.
Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) figures showed the airport enjoyed an increase in passenger numbers during September, with 9,321 people using it to get to Amsterdam.
“Growing the KLM operation is a key priority in the plans for the airport’s development,” said a spokesman.
“The significant growth in passenger numbers is very significant and we expect the trend will be maintained when the figures for October become available.”
A Save Teesside Airport Facebook page has 6,000 supporters and businessman Andy Preston has led calls for an inquiry into the airport’s demise.
They argue the new road link plans is just another step towards turning the airport into housing and industrial estates.
But a Peel statement said: “Smaller airports need to find new ways of generating income.
“If they don’t they will not survive and already a number, such as Blackpool and Plymouth, have closed.
“The masterplan is about looking at opportunities for generating income to support and hopefully expand services.
“The suggestion it’s all doom and gloom is simply not true.”
The statement went on to say claims the firm is looking to close the airport are “nonsense and potentially very damaging”.
Steve Gill, managing director of the airport, described approval for the link road as “a very significant and a welcome step forward” in opening up the potential of Southside.
Peel’s masterplan includes building 400 homes in the area, and Stockton Mayor, Councillor Ian Dalgarno, fears the development will have a detrimental impact.
“The airport is essential to the development of Tees Valley and it will be difficult to attract investment without it,” he said.