People in Tees Valley are being reconnected to more than 100 global destinations, as the first flight between Teesside International and Amsterdam Schiphol since the airport’s reopening in June took to the air this week.
The KLM Royal Dutch Airlines flight departed as part of the airport’s phased reopening following the coronavirus pandemic.
The flights to the Dutch capital, popular with both business and leisure travellers, has begun as a single daily service and will grow back to three times a day when the market is ready.
The route has been reinstated just weeks after Teesside International Airport signed a new deal with the operator to secure the route to the Dutch capital for at least the next five years.
Teesside International is continuing discussions with all of its airline partners over the reintroduction of further services over the coming weeks and months.
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is a long-standing partner of the airport and celebrated its 100th anniversary last year, marking its best month in 14 years for the Teesside to Amsterdam route last September.
Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen said: “I am delighted KLM has once again taken to the air from our airport to Schiphol, meaning people from Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool can once again go worldwide from Teesside.
“As the airport has been taking its careful, tentative steps towards becoming fully operational following the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve relaunched some of our most popular domestic flights for business travellers and those looking for a staycation.
“Before coronavirus hit, this route had been going from strength to strength, demonstrated by KLM’s fantastic commitment to our airport and region in the deal to secure the destination for another five years. It shows confidence in our 10-Year Rescue Plan, which we can now start to double-down on to secure more holiday and domestic flights for local people.
“Our airport is playing a vital part in my plan for jobs and economic recovery and the renewal of this key link to the world will help the investment in our area that we all want to see come through our airport terminal.
“This couldn’t have happened soon enough, with work on the 270-acre Southside development under way, and contractors on site starting to prepare Teesworks – the UK’s biggest industrial zone – for investment earlier this week.
“The initial enthusiasm for this route is great to see, and it’s one which will be hugely important for our airport and area for years to come.”
Benedicte Duval, general manager for Air France KLM in the UK and Ireland, said: “After what has been, and continues to be, a very challenging period for our industry, we are pleased to be in a position to resume our daily service from Teesside.
“We have a long standing partnership with Teesside International Airport, having provided worldwide connectivity to the region for almost 30 years, and we look forward to welcoming our local passengers back on board once they are ready to travel again.
“At KLM, the safety and wellbeing of our passengers and crew have always been our number one priority.
“As we all adapt to this new environment, I can assure you that our staff, both on the ground and in the air, are truly committed to guaranteeing the highest levels of health and safety.”
In line with Government guidance and for the wellbeing and safety of staff and passengers, Teesside International Airport is currently only open to those planning to travel and airport staff.
New health and safety measures have also been put in place for the airport, with six simple steps including hand sanitisation points and face masks now in operation.
Flight information and more details on safety measures can be found at teessideinternational.com.