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A new 10-year deal has been signed to keep a world-leading fire training centre at Teesside International Airport.

Serco has signed a 10-year lease with the airport – safeguarding more than 50 jobs at the world class centre of excellence.

The International Fire Training Centre (IFTC) has been based at the airport since 1981. Serco’s IFTC is a world leader in aviation fire training – providing life-saving guidance and expertise to thousands of firefighters every year.

Not only does the Centre employ more than 50 people, but it also has another 100 associate instructors, and brings thousands of trainees to the region every year.

Environment improvements will also to be made to the training centre in the coming year.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “It’s great that we’ve been able to secure this business, and the fantastic jobs that come with it, at Teesside Airport for the long term. Families and workers at our airport now have the assurance they deserve over their jobs at this world-leading site after uncertainty earlier in the year.

“We are proud to host the fire training centre – and the boost in reputation it has given to our airport for the past 40 years is immeasurable.

“This deal ensures dozens of jobs are secured. With more holiday flights being revealed with TUI, Willis Aviation submitting £25m plans, and our £200m Southside Business Park taking shape, this Serco deal is yet more evidence of our airport going from strength to strength.”

The ITFC is set to take up a smaller part of the airport site as the development of the Southside Business Park gathers pace.

Guy Barker, Serco’s Contract manager at the IFTC, said: “I am exceptionally pleased that the future of IFTC has been secured at Teesside International Airport.

“This new lease not only reflects the ongoing commitment of Serco to Teesside but also the future of Teesside International Airport. IFTC is recognised around the world and the phrase “trained on Teesside” is recognised globally as recognition of first-class Airport Fire Officers.

“I look forward to the next 40 years and am excited to lead the fantastic team into a bright future.”