When passengers arrive at the newly redeveloped Teesside International Airport this summer, a giant LED screen will remind them that this is a facility ready and willing to transport the region into an exciting 21st century future.
Installed and operated by local company Cornerstone, the 15-square-metre screen, positioned behind the reception area, will flash up not just flight details (including Ryanair’s new Mediterranean destinations), but also the opportunities awaiting potential overseas investors while showcasing the best of Teesside’s businesses.
Cornerstone’s directors, Chris Petty and Chris Bibby, are rightly proud of the eye-catching central screen, as well as the behind-the-scenes work they’ve done on the airport’s infrastructure to ensure its ultra-modern facilities will operate to the best effect.
“Talk about a journey!” said Chris Bibby. “The airport has been like a second home for us for most of this year.
“But it has all been worth it because we were among the first people invited to take part in a ‘walk-through’, where we assess what the new customer experience will be like – and it’s going to be fantastic.”
The showpiece LED was shipped over from China with some difficulty during the pandemic, and carefully manoeuvred into place to ensure its central role within the concourse.
“It’s going to be a focal point,” said Chris Petty. “Visitors will get all the information they need very quickly and clearly, as well as providing a window of opportunity for Teesside businesses to advertise.”
Beyond that, though, there is so much more that Cornerstone has done to ensure that an airport that was threatened with extinction just a few short years ago, provides a gateway of opportunity for a bright new future for the region.
Mr Bibby said: “In addition to the LED screen, we have installed 40 new TV screens around the airport for the benefit of staff and passengers and facilitated the EPOS system to be used on tills throughout the airport and also the systems on which the airport’s internal security systems will run.
“We have looked after the IT at the airport and so Cornerstone has been part and parcel of the changes.
“The LED is the most obvious example of the work we have done, but the vast majority of our efforts have gone on behind the scenes.
“The biggest project was the full re-cabling of the airport, which took us over four months.
“That’s just one of the respects in which we have to admire the airport for their approach.
They’re very much aware of the fact that Teesside Airport is having to come from a long way back after many years of underinvestment but they don’t just want to catch up, they want to future-proof it for the next 10 years.
“And so, from the ground up, we’ve probably replaced every bit of cabling but that’s going to make it so much better for the airport in the long run. Although they’ll never see it, because it is all part of the airport infrastructure, it will make the passenger experience that much smoother and more enjoyable.”
A year of Covid-19 has laid low so much of the country’s industry, but for Cornerstone and the other contractors on-site at Teesside International Airport, it has rarely been an issue.
“It made delivery of the LED screen a little trickier but apart from that, it hasn’t really affected us,” says Chris Petty.
“The fact that the airport was closed for much of the time probably made it that much quicker and easier in terms of being able to get the work done without causing disruption to others.
“It’s great to see the new facility that has grown up over this last year.
“There’s a buzz about the place now and when visitors come into the terminal and see the LED screen flashing ‘Welcome to Teesside International Airport’, they’re going to know this is a place ready for take-off.”