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Teesside International Airport has been named UK & Irish Airport of the Year at a major industry ceremony in London.
The airport was handed the prestigious accolade at the TTG Travel Industry Awards, with the publication TTG – the Travel Trade Gazette – celebrating those businesses and travel professionals that have worked the smartest, delivered the best service and experience and have helped champion a fairer travel industry.
A panel of aviation and travel expert judges assessed entries from airports across the country before awarding the gong to Teesside. They recognised the mammoth efforts undertaken to turn Teesside Airport around, including how it had grown its flights and improved the customer experience, is capitalising on its land and assets and has been leading the sector – for example, in becoming the first UK airport to scrap the 100ml liquid limit in security.
As well as this success, Teesside is also in the running for the British Travel Awards’ for Best UK Airport, and is the only national airport going up against global competition in the International Airport Review’s Airport Experience Award.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “This fantastic award is a testament to the dedication of all the team who work so hard to make Teesside the best airport in the country.
“Our airport was on the brink of closure, but we have delivered what the people of Teesside wanted – a modern new terminal, new airlines and services to the destinations where people want to go.
“The doom-mongers said it couldn’t be done – but we are proving them wrong by delivering a first-class, awarding-winning airport that the people of Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool truly deserve.”
Phil Forster, Teesside International Airport Managing Director, said: “Our passengers have spent the last couple of summers singing our praises and now we’ve been recognised by industry experts too.
“We’ve come a long way, but we’re not resting on our laurels and are going further to make Teesside Airport great for customers and a sector leader.
“I want to thank the whole airport team, without whose efforts and dedication this wouldn’t be possible, our fantastic business partners and most of all, our passengers for believing in our turnaround and supporting us all the way.”
The honour comes after a hugely successful year for the airport which has enjoyed its best passenger figures for more than a decade, and one which has seen further investment in the airport terminal and across the entire site.
Teesside – named the UK’s second most punctual airport in 2022 – has also now grown to enjoy its largest selection of airlines, schedules and international destinations since it returned to public ownership.
Ryanair runs year-round flights to Alicante – increasing this winter to three-times weekly, alongside summer services to Faro in Portugal, Majorca and Corfu.
TUI – one of the UK’s biggest holiday companies – has also expanded its offering from Teesside this year, with twice-weekly flights to Majorca thanks to the popularity of the route last year. It will also introduce flights to Turkey’s popular Dalaman destination in 2024.
Balkan Holidays is also operating its service to Bourgas, Bulgaria, in the summer and holidaymakers are going further afield easier than ever with KLM’s three-times daily service to Amsterdam Schiphol, serving more than 160 onward global destinations.
Major progress has been made in developing the airport as a key location for businesses as part of the ten-year plan to return to profit.
Work is now almost complete on the link road and first unit on the £200million Business Park South on the airport’s southside, which is set to create 4,400 jobs when fully operational while new hangars are also being developed on the northside of the airport.
The airport’s £2.5million cargo handling facility has also continued to enjoy rapid growth since opening last August, also reporting record-breaking business as it becomes renowned for urgent and last-minute handling of goods.
Elsewhere, the airport is supporting the region’s clean energy ambitions, with a permanent hydrogen refuelling station set to come to the site for low-emission vehicles operating in Tees Valley.
It is also partnering with SSE Energy Solutions for a major solar farm installed at the airport, and it continues to back the development and adoption of Sustainable Aviation Fuel.
Finally, it is backing the next generation of industry talent after joining forces with Teesside University to develop the Teesside Aviation Skills Academy. Construction is now under way to convert part of the airport terminal to a dedicated facility for university training and learning.
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