Durham Tees Valley Airport 'could close' without deal

Durham Tees Valley Airport
Image caption The airport's owners said its future was "extremely uncertain" after 2021

Durham Tees Valley Airport is likely to close if a takeover plan is rejected in two weeks' time, its boss has warned.

Owners the Peel Group said the airport's future would be "extremely uncertain" if the five Tees Valley Labour council leaders vote against plans to buy the site.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has proposed a £40m deal to bring the airport back into public ownership.

The Peel Group's chairman Robert Hough said it welcomed the plan.

"Without that conclusion, the future operations of the airport are extremely uncertain after 2021," he said.

The group agreed a commitment with the airport's local authority shareholders to keep the airport open until 2021.

'Heart-breaking' threat

Mr Houchen warned Peel had "no obligation" to keep the airport open after that time.

"The sobering reality is that the vote on 24 January is a vote to either keep the airport open, or to close it," he said.

Darlington-based Deep Ocean UK has warned it may need to relocate from the Tees Valley if the airport closes.

The company, which provides services to the offshore construction industry, bought 250 return flights from the airport in 2018.

Mr Houchen said its threat was "heart-breaking".

"Inward investment doesn't come on a bus, it comes through an airport terminal," he said.

Labour leaders want further information and assurances the mayor's plan is viable, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

The full plan is due to be published on 16 January and discussed by the Tees Valley Combined Authority the following day.

Councillors are expected to vote on it on 24 January.

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