Now and Then Magazine

An Independant regional magazine that is circulated into 78,000 selected homes

Latest Edition: August 2017

Included in this magazine...

- Town Talk

- So what went wrong?

- Happy Anniversary

- Devastation

- Oh Yes … Oh No

- School Room

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Peter Cook

the editor

In the 1970s – the outlook for Teesside airport was one of excitement and expansion. Passenger numbers were increasing at a healthy rate with local ‘flying executives’ gratefully taking advantage of British Midland Airways four-daily direct flights to London, Heathrow. Also in the schedules were links to Manchester, Birmingham, Bournemouth, Bristol and Cardiff.
Holiday-makers were also catered for with direct flights to the Isle of Man, Jersey, Ostend, Palma, Tenerife, Malaga, Dubrovnik, Rijeka and Split provided by new airlines anxious to share the airport’s ambitious development plans.
Teesside airport was maintaining its position as one of the larger and most modern municipal airports in the United Kingdom. Further appealing features included free car parking provided by the Airport Authority for both visitors and passengers, its own railway station on the perimeter of the airfield and a flourishing on-site flying school. The airport passenger terminal included a modern bar and buffet, travel office with currency exchange facilities, a number of shops, a Post Office and the spacious lounge was equipped with a television to entertain travellers awaiting to board their flight.
During this period with passenger numbers bordering on a million, there was every indication that these impressive trends would continue, and it was envisaged Teesside Airport would become thoroughly ‘international.’
Things began to go pear shaped after Cleveland Council was abolished in 1996 and the local Borough Councils sought a strategic partner to develop the airport. They selected Peel Airports Ltd which took a 75 per cent stake, with the rest of the shareholding (25 per cent) owned by the six local authorities including Hartlepool.
In an affront to most Teessiders, Peel who had committed to investing £20m in the airport, immediately changed its name to the ridiculous sounding Durham and Tees Valley Airport (DTVA), and thereafter watched as the airport nosedived as passenger numbers plummeted dramatically to just 142,379 by 2014. The London flights disappeared, Ryanair pulled out ending its service to Dublin, Alicante, Girona and Rome, and the airport has now become but a shadow of its former self.
Peel has since announced that it would no longer focus on charter flights and would diversify into a business airport. Its master plan for such a change in direction includes building houses on airport land, and approval has now been given for 350 such dwellings and for a section of its car park to be used for caravan storage.
Regular ‘direct’ flights to and from airport are now limited to Amsterdam and Aberdeen and sporadic charter flights are scheduled when needed – this inevitably reflects the dramatic fall in passenger numbers. Ben Houchen, Tees Valley’s new Mayor, has expressed a desire to get the airport up and running again, for the thousands of Teessiders that day cannot come quick enough.

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Peter Cook – Editor-in-Chief

Cleveland Police are reminding social media users to be responsible for what they say or post on Facebook and other forums. (Now&Then No.107)

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