Teesside International Airport has announced plans to reopen its doors to passengers from June 22, with a new route to Newquay taking off just days later – and a date set for the first return flights to London City Airport.
The first flights set to leave the airport following lockdown will be Eastern Airways’ Monday-to-Friday daily routes between Teesside and Aberdeen and Teesside and Belfast.
The previously announced flights to London City Airport will begin on July 6 – the first time the region has been connected to the capital by air for more than a decade – and will run once a day on Mondays and Fridays, and twice-daily on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
From July 6 local people will be able to fly direct to Newquay with Eastern Airways which will operate a once-a-day flight on Mondays and Fridays to the hugely popular holiday destination.
The airport is in continued discussions with all of its airline partners over the reintroduction of services from Teesside Airport, with more announcements on the return of more flights expected in the coming weeks.
Airports chiefs say the health, wellbeing and safety of passengers and staff is a priority as the airport reopens and flights restart. New health and safety measures have been put in place and, during the first phase of the reopening, the terminal will only be open to local people planning to travel and airport staff.
This means there will be no access to the wider public, including those wanting to wave off departing passengers or welcome inbound travellers home. Taxi drivers will also be required to wait outside the main terminal for passengers.
Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen said: “I am delighted that Eastern Airways has decided to resume flights from Teesside Airport and even grow its commitment with a new route to Newquay. This is yet another vote of confidence in our amazing airport.
“It goes to show that our 10-year plan for the airport is working and that our airport is key to our economic recovery. A successful Teesside Airport will see more investment come to our region and will help to create local jobs that we need and deserve.
“Since day one of the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve been clear that the safety and health of local people and our airport staff had to be paramount at this difficult time. That’s why, after consultation with our airline partners, we came to the joint decision to temporarily close our doors to passengers.
“While it’s clear that there is still some way to go, it is equally true that the pandemic’s rate of transmission is slowing down and, following the latest Government guidance including that on safety in the workplace and for public transport, we are able to gradually phase back our flight schedule, starting with domestic services.
“This will not be at any cost, however. We’ve introduced easy to understand but rigorous safety measures for passengers and staff, and we will continue to monitor the situation and will take appropriate action where necessary.
“Before the lockdown we secured new flights to more destinations. Now, as we restore our way of life, I’ll make sure more domestic and holiday flights resume when it is safe to do so.”
Mayor Houchen said the airport was “about much more than just flights”, insisting: “It is playing a key part of my plan for jobs and recovery, I’ve always said that investment won’t come on a bus, it will come through our airport terminal.
“And I’ll keep up the progress, building a new business park at our airport. Diggers are already in the ground working on a site the size of 270 football pitches. That will put our area on the map as an international destination for new jobs.”
He added that global aviation firm Willis Asset Management had chosen the airport as its European maintenance hub “for some of the biggest airlines in the world.”
Roger Hage, Eastern Airways’ general manager (commercial and operations), said: “We are pleased to announce that our expanding Teesside network of flights are returning from June 22 with a carefully considered initial frequency including a new Newquay summer domestic sun destination from July 6 to support the major regions of the UK and ensure regional connectivity returns given its vital role in recovering economic prosperity to the Teesside and North-East region.
“We will continue to increase frequency on all routes through July and August including the return of weekend services to meet demand along with working jointly with the team at Teesside to add further new routes.
“The safety and comfort of our passengers and staff is the most important thing to us, and they can rest assured we have put considerable safety measures in place to protect those flying with us. This includes extensive nightly sanitisation and cleaning on each turnaround.
“We look forward to welcoming people from across Tees Valley back on board as we start flying again.”
Six simple steps to staying safe at the airport have been drawn up to protect passengers and staff. These are:
Step 1: Clean your hands and collect a face mask to protect yourself and others
Step 2: Check in at one of our socially distanced desks. If you don’t have hold luggage, why not check in online?
Step 3: Use contactless payment to pay for your Passenger Facility Fee (PFF) ticket or alternatively book online
Step 4: Minimise what you carry to help us avoid hand searches during security checks to assist with social distancing
Step 5: Sit two metres apart from passengers outside of your party in the departure lounge
Step 6: Board your flight making sure your face mask is on to protect yourself and others
Flight information for passengers and further details on safety measures can be found at www.teessideinternational.com