Teesside International Airport

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Teesside International Airport
Airport typePublic
OwnerTees Valley Combined Authority (75%)
Teesside Airport Foundation[1] (25%)
ServesNorth East
County Durham, North Yorkshire
LocationDarlington, England
Elevation AMSL120 ft / 37 m
Coordinates54°30′33″N 001°25′46″W / 54.50917°N 1.42944°W / 54.50917; -1.42944 (Teesside International Airport)
EGNV is located in County Durham
Location in County Durham
EGNV is located in the United Kingdom
EGNV (the United Kingdom)
EGNV is located in Europe
EGNV (Europe)
Direction Length Surface
m ft
05/23 2,291 7,516 Asphalt
Statistics (2023)
Passenger change 2022/23Increase30.4%
Aircraft Movements21,125
Movements change 2022/23Increase4.0%
Sources: UK AIP at NATS[2]
Statistics from the UK Civil Aviation Authority[3]

Teesside International Airport (IATA: MME, ICAO: EGNV), previously Durham Tees Valley Airport, is a minor international airport located between Darlington and Stockton-on-Tees, County Durham, Northern England. It is about 10 mi (16 km) south-west of Middlesbrough. The airport serves the North East, primarily Teesside, County Durham and North Yorkshire.

The airport has a Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Public Use Aerodrome Licence (number P518) that allows flights for the public transport of passengers and for flight instruction. Tees Valley Combined Authority owns three-quarters of the airport and Teesside Airport Foundation owns the remainder.[4]

Originally Royal Air Force (RAF) station Middleton St George, the aerodrome became Tees-Side Airport in 1964, Teesside International Airport in 1987, and Durham Tees Valley Airport in 2004 before reverting to Teesside International Airport in 2019 following a poll indicating 93% of locals preferred the name, with the change occurring on 25 July 2019. 'Teesside Airport' was common on local road signs that were either placed before 2004 or on signs with limited space for the then airport title.


RAF Middleton St George[edit]

The aerodrome began life in January 1941 as Royal Air Force Station Middleton St. George or RAF Goosepool as known to the locals (though it has never officially held that name). It was the most northerly of all Bomber Command airfields, home to both RAF and Royal Canadian Air Force squadrons during WWII, and exclusively RAF post-war.[5] Bombing missions from the station included those to Berlin, Hanover, Kassel, Mannheim and Munich.[6][7] Of the many military aircraft based at the aerodrome, it is best known as home to the Avro Lancaster during the war and English Electric Lightning in the 1960s. In 1957, the runway was extended to its current length of 7,516 ft (2,291m). The RAF station was closed in 1964 and the airfield sold to the Ministry of Civil Aviation.

Tees-Side Airport[edit]

Passengers boarding a British Midland Viscount 813 in 1987
British Midland Douglas DC-9s at the airport in 1994
Control tower

The former RAF Station was then developed into a civil airport. The first civilian flight from the newly named Tees-Side Airport took place on 18 April 1964 with a Mercury Airlines service to Manchester.[5] On 1 November 1966, the international passenger terminal was opened by Princess Margaretha of Sweden.[8]

The IATA code for the new airport was determined as MME; however, the meaning of this is disputed. Long term employees and tenants from the 1960s claim Middleton St George AerodroME, but because of the lack of certainty, the current management have unofficially adopted Middleton Military Establishment as a nod to the military origins. Middlesbrough Municipal AerodromE is also often quoted. However the latter seems unlikely as the Airport is actually located in Darlington County Durham.

In the early days, the airport developed a network of mainly scheduled routes, with limited inclusive tour charter flights. The destinations were consistent but the airlines were not, with British Midland, BKS Air Transport, Dan-Air, Autair and Channel Airways all coming and going before the turn of the decade. In November 1969 British Midland returned when they were awarded the licence to fly the London Heathrow route, which they continued operating until 28 March 2009.

The 1970s saw a decline in regional services but a growth in holiday flights, courtesy of Northeast Airlines (a rebranded BKS Air Transport) and Britannia Airways, as well as overseas operators such as Aviaco, Spantax and Aviogenex amongst others.

On 19 October 1971, the Teesside Airport railway station opened, with a shuttle bus running between the station and the terminal.

In 1974, the shares were divided between the newly formed Cleveland and Durham County Councils.[citation needed] Also during the year, the CAA declared Tees-Side should be the primary airport for the North East of England, ultimately however Newcastle International Airport prospered.

The 1980s saw scheduled routes resurge thanks to home-grown airline Casair Aviation Services, who had started out as an air taxi operator in 1972. In October 1982, Casair merged with Genair of Liverpool and Eastern Airways of Humberside (the airline of the same name still based there today is a Phoenix company) under the Genair name, and one month later the first UK regional feeder franchise network was launched when Genair partnered with British Caledonian, trading under the British Caledonian Commuter Services banner. Unfortunately the new venture only lasted until July 1984 when Genair collapsed, causing the loss of 11 out of 18 routes for Tees-Side Airport.[9] Luckily, the airport valued the services more than owed fees, leading to Casair being reborn and taking over Genair services to Glasgow and Humberside, which they operated initially on behalf of Air Ecosse and then independently.

On 11 December 1982, the airport chartered Concorde for the day, it would visit twice more before its retirement, on 23 August 1986 for the air show and 30 April 1995.

Teesside International I[edit]

In 1987, the airport was privatised, with Cleveland and Durham local authorities retaining their shares. As part of this process the airport rebranded from Tees-Side Airport to Teesside International Airport.

1990 saw the one millionth aircraft movement at the airport, in the form of a British Midland service to London Heathrow. In 1996 when Cleveland County Council was abolished, the airport ownership was divided amongst local Borough Councils. Passenger numbers grew steadily from 1993 based upon an expanding holiday charter business.

In 1994, Airtours arrived on the scene and from 1997 based a summer seasonal aircraft at the airport, this coupled with other tour operator expansion propelled the airport to new heights.

In 2002, the airport sought a strategic partner to assist with future development and Peel Airports Ltd was selected as the preferred company, taking a 75% stake in the airport, to be increased to 89% after 10 years, with a commitment to invest £20m over the first five years.

Peel brought Teesside into the low cost era by securing bmibaby who based initially one, later two aircraft at the airport, ultimately giving the airport its peak years.

Durham Tees Valley[edit]

On 21 September 2004, the airport was renamed Durham Tees Valley Airport at the request of bmibaby, who felt the new name placed the airport better geographically as many of the airport's passengers, particularly those from outside the UK, were unfamiliar with the location of Teesside, whilst Durham was better known. The move was widely condemned by the local population who felt passionately about the name Teesside, and considered the term Tees Valley to be geographically inaccurate, as there is no such valley.

Shortly afterwards, a new access road, terminal front and terminal interior were completed. The remainder of a planned £56 million expansion and development programme would have enabled the airport to handle up to 3 million passengers annually.[10][11][12][13] However the plan never materialised due to falling passenger numbers after 2006

In late summer 2006, bmibaby announced their surprise departure from Durham Tees Valley Airport. Peel were quick to replace them with Flyglobespan who opened an initial two-aircraft base.

Passenger numbers peaked in 2006 when the airport was used by 917,963 passengers. However, since the 2007-2008 financial crisis, numbers declined to 130,911 in 2017 before starting to rise again in 2018. A side effect of the crisis saw a number of airline bankruptcies or mergers, greatly reducing the number of potential operators for the airport to pursue. Those that merged consolidated at the larger regional airports, leading to the likes of Newcastle and Leeds expanding, whilst local airports such as Durham Tees Valley continued to struggle for several years.

In 2010, Vancouver Airport Services purchased a controlling 65% stake in Peel Airports Ltd and in December 2011, placed the airport up for sale.[14] This led to the Peel Group purchasing their 75% share back on 10 February 2012 under a new subsidiary, Peel Investments (DTVA) Ltd.[15]

In November 2010, the airport introduced the Passenger Facility Fee of £6 per adult to curb the airport's losses.[16] Passengers had to purchase a ticket from a machine before being allowed to proceed through security.[17] Similar schemes were at the time already in place at other small English airports including Blackpool, Newquay and Norwich.[16] Passenger numbers during 2011 were 15% lower compared to 2010.

On 11 January 2011, Ryanair left the airport after ending their service to Alicante Airport, having previously served Dublin Airport, Girona Airport and Rome Ciampino Airport. They decided to leave the airport before the introduction of the Passenger Facility Fee, being notoriously against such charges.[18]

Other developments included new airfield lighting installed and during 2012, six-figure sums spent revamping the terminal building and renovating one of the World War II-era hangars.

On 30 October 2013, after it became clear the market wasn't going to yield any further charter flights, the airport announced it would no longer accept such flights[19] as part of cost-cutting plans that would see the airport diversify into a business airport. The airport stated it would instead focus on scheduled routes and non-passenger related aviation such as cargo/general aviation. The news was part of a master plan for the airport site, including residential and commercial development, released in November 2013. Peel would later reverse the decision with the return of Balkan Holidays to Burgas for summer 2019, with further large scale expansion from two major holiday companies lined up, but stopped because of the 2018 takeover.

In November 2013, Peel Group released a master plan titled "Master Plan to 2020 and Beyond", covering the period up to 2050. This was followed up with a number of consultation events across the region with both the public and business community, the airport then took the feedback into consideration before releasing a final draft in April 2014.[20][21]

Under the master plan, inclusive tour charter flights were axed as unprofitable.[19] The cornerstone of the master plan was a housing estate which would have raised up to £30m to be reinvested back into the airport under a 'Section 106' agreement.[22] This resulted in heavy opposition from the local public who misinterpreted the development as being at the expense of the airport, which had long been the subject of a conspiracy theory claiming the facility was being deliberately run down for closure. The houses were located on land too far removed from the existing airport infrastructure to be used for aviation development, and outline planning permission was received on 29 March 2017.[23]

On 18 May 2017, Durham Tees Valley Airport announced significant investment to the airport's terminal facilities. Alongside extensive renovations in the departures area, improved retail services were introduced under the new in-house 'Xpress' brand. The first phase of investment was completed in September 2017, with the second phase starting in Autumn 2017. The airport's Privilege Membership Club also faced improvements for passenger service upgrades.[24]

Later in May 2017, Durham Tees Valley Airport introduced a new in-house ground handling service called Consort Aviation. Ground handling services are provided for general aviation, cargo and military aircraft.[25]

During November 2017, the airport launched its Flying For The Future campaign to try to build support towards the airport and encourage more people to use the facility.[26]

2018 takeover[edit]

On 4 December 2018, the Mayor of the Tees Valley Ben Houchen announced a £40 million deal had been agreed to buy Peel Airport's 89% majority shareholding in Durham Tees Valley Airport (made up of £35m for the airport and £5m for land with planning permission for 350 houses) which if approved would bring the airport back into public ownership for the first time since it was sold to Peel in 2003. Purchasing the airport was Houchen's primary election pledge in his campaign in the 2017 Tees Valley mayoral election. The deal would be completed subject to ratification from the leaders of the five local authorities that made up the Tees Valley Combined Authority who were to vote on the deal in January 2019 at a purpose emergency TVCA meeting called by the Mayor. An established airport operator thought to be the Stobart Aviation had been lined up to run the facility.[27][28]

Should the Mayor's plan to buy back the airport be approved by TVCA, Houchen said he planned to give local residents the opportunity to decide whether to change the airport's name back to Teesside International Airport.[29] An online poll was conducted in December 2018 with the option of continuing with the Durham Tees Valley name or reverting to the airport's former name of Teesside International. Of the 14,000 people who took part, 93% voted for the name to revert to Teesside International.[30]

On 24 January 2019, the six TVCA leaders unanimously voted in favour of the plan, bringing the airport back under public ownership after 16 years in the private sector.

On 14 March 2019, the Mayor held a press conference at the airport confirming Stobart Aviation as the new airport operator. Stobart would invest in a 25% stake in the new holding company with the TVCA owning the majority 75% (it was expected that prior to this the individual local authority shares would be transferred across to the TVCA).[31]

The takeover came at a time the airport was back on the rise, the 2017 terminal refurbishment was fuelling growth in passenger numbers, Peel had invested in a new £3.5m radar system which went live in 2021,[32] and they had "one of the largest increases in flights at the airport since the financial crash in 2007" lined up from "two major holiday companies", which the Mayor blocked in favour of using the start-up subsidies on solicitors and consults for the takeover instead.[33] The airport announced a new summer holiday route to Majorca for the 2020 summer season[34] and the renewal of the 2019 Burgas route also for 2020.[35]

Teesside International II[edit]

On 25 July 2019, the airport was rebranded back to Teesside International Airport, the name it operated under between 1987 and 2004.[36][37][38][39]

In January 2020, flights to multiple destinations were announced by Eastern Airways to Belfast City, Cardiff, Dublin, Isle of Man, London City and Southampton, including a relaunch of their long established Aberdeen route.[40] Routes to Newquay, Alicante and London Heathrow were later added, the latter for the first time in over a decade.[41] By November, these routes were suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[42][43][44] A major global aircraft maintenance firm, Willis Lease Finance Corporation, were announced as a new tenant on 15 May 2020.[45] They announced a £25m investment in the airport including two new hangars and a new Jet Centre facility on 18 July 2022.[46] On 27 October 2020, TUI announced their return after nine years with a summer service to Majorca starting in May 2022.[47] On 10 November 2020, Loganair announced flights to five destinations, all in competition with Eastern Airways, however Eastern never reinstated several of their routes following the pandemic leaving Loganair as the sole operator on most of them. On 25 November, Ryanair announced two flights a week to Palma de Mallorca and Alicante from June 2021.[48] On 16 December 2020, a terminal refurbishment was announced including a second lounge, cafe and bar facilities, both landside and airside, as well as opening up previously closed areas.[49]

In the 3 March 2021 annual Government budget announcement, the Tees Valley region was awarded Freeport status as well as Treasury North at Darlington (plus other departments announced since). Both expect to have long term benefits for the airport which is included as part of the freeport.[50] On 23 April 2021, It was announced that the £6.00 passenger facility fee would be scrapped.[51] On 12 May 2021, it was announced that duty-free shopping would return to the airport after an eight-year absence courtesy of World Duty-Free.[52]

In 2021, Tees Valley Combined Authority announced a move from Cavendish House on Teesdale, Stockton-on-Tees to a new 1,360sq m base at the Teesside Airport site. The move completed in 2022.[53]

On 7 February 2022, new details of a proposed Teesside Airport business park were announced. The new business park, based on the southside of the airport, will include a new 1.5 km link road running direct to the A67 and a new roundabout close to Wilkinson's Plant Centre.[54][55]

On 29 August 2022, the airport officially opened a new £2.5million cargo handling facility. The facility includes a purpose-built 21,000sq ft hangar with security screening technology, handling, freight-forwarding, customs clearage and storage. The facility can also be used for specialised charter flights for both air and road freight.[56] Following the closure of Doncaster Sheffield Airport in November 2022, it is expected that some of their 10,000 tonnes of annual freight will now be handled by Teesside.[57]

Teesside airport will be the first in the UK to scrap the 100ml limit on liquids in hand luggage with the installation of new scanning equipment known as a C3 Scanner.[58]

Airlines and destinations[edit]


The following airlines operate regular scheduled and cargo flights to and from Teesside:[59]

BH Air Seasonal: Burgas
Eastern Airways[60] Aberdeen [61]
Seasonal: Jersey
KLM Amsterdam
Ryanair Alicante
Seasonal: Corfu, Faro, Palma de Mallorca
TUI Airways Seasonal: Dalaman (begins 28 May 2024),[62] Palma de Mallorca[63]


FedEx Express Edinburgh (begins 3 June 2024), Paris–Charles de Gaulle (begins 3 June 2024)[64]

Other users[edit]

There are two flight schools located at the airport, AeroSchool and Eden Flight Training.

IAS Medical are an air ambulance operator who specialise in patient and organ transfer using Beech King Airs.

There are also three multinational defence contractors based on site, Draken Europe provide electronic countermeasure and aggressor training to the MoD using a fleet of Dassault Falcon 20 and Aero L-159E ALCA[65] aircraft, and built a new hangar in 2022 to accommodate the latter. Serco operate their International Fire Training Centre, one of the largest in Europe, on the airports south side and Thales have their calibration and flight inspection subsidiary based with a Beech King Air and Diamond DA42 Twin Star.

US firm Willis Lease Finance Corporation subsidiary Willis Asset Management operate out of Hangar 2 at the airport and carry out maintenance and storage of a wide variety of commercial aircraft.[66] Two further subsidiaries have since moved in, Willis Aviation Services are a ground handling company and Jet Centre by Willis now run the airports business aviation centre.[67]

Non-aviation companies include FedEx Express, who operate from Hangar 1 following a merger with courier TNT and the closure of the Fedex facility at Riverside Park in Middlesbrough.

Traffic statistics[edit]

Passengers and aircraft movements[edit]

The airport saw strong growth from 1993 to 2006, when passenger numbers peaked at 917,963. Passenger numbers then declined steeply in the subsequent four years due to the financial crisis of 2007–2010. Passenger numbers continued to fall before stabilising in 2018 prior to the 2019 Covid pandemic that led to the almost complete shutdown of passenger air travel through most of 2020.[68] Passenger numbers have since started to rise steadily in the years following Covid with new holiday destinations subsequently being introduced.[3] Combined with the "core" business flights currently operating out of the airport, the long-term hope is of pushing passenger numbers beyond 1.4m in the next decade by attracting a low cost airline.[69]

Freight volumes decreased at the airport from 2000 onwards, to effectively zero tonneage by 2010.[3] Freight volumes began to increase again at the airport in 2023 as a result of a new cargo handling facility opening in late 2022.[56] On 18 March 2024, it was announced that FedEx Express will schedule 8 flights per week in and out of the airport by June 2024, significantly increasing freight volumes handled at the airport.[64]

Teesside International Airport
passenger totals 2000–2023 (thousands)
Traffic statistics at Teesside International Airport[3]
Year Passengers[a] Passengers
% change
Aircraft[b] Aircraft
% change
% change
2000 746,983 Steady 54,625 Steady 3,145 Steady
2001 733,617 Decrease 1.7 58,494 Increase 7.0 2,076 Decrease 33.9
2002 671,131 Decrease 8.5 52,276 Decrease 10.6 1,016 Decrease 51.0
2003 704,269 Increase 4.9 51,976 Decrease 0.5 1,092 Increase 7.4
2004 788,382 Increase 11.9 49,529 Decrease 4.7 484 Decrease 55.6
2005 900,035 Increase 14.1 51,714 Increase 4.4 363 Decrease 25.0
2006 917,963 Increase 1.9 55,788 Increase 7.8 459 Increase 26.4
2007 743,727 Decrease 18.9 57,515 Increase 3.0 790 Increase 72.1
2008 654,192 Decrease 12.0 45,310 Decrease 21.2 290 Decrease 63.2
2009 289,464 Decrease 55.7 25,208 Decrease 44.3 356 Increase 22.7
2010 224,673 Decrease 22.3 20,756 Decrease 17.6 0 Decrease 100.0
2011 192,410 Decrease 14.3 20,879 Increase 0.5 3 Increase nm
2012 166,251 Decrease 13.5 17,938 Decrease 14.0 0 Decrease 100.0
2013 161,092 Decrease 3.1 18,298 Increase 2.0 0 Steady
2014 142,379 Decrease 10.3 17,940 Decrease 1.9 2 Increase nm
2015 140,902 Decrease 1.0 18,702 Increase 4.2 0 Decrease 100.0
2016 132,369 Decrease 6.1 21,162 Increase 13.2 8 Increase nm
2017 130,911 Decrease 1.1 19,668 Decrease 7.1 4 Decrease 50.0
2018 142,080 Increase 8.5 16,950 Decrease 13.8 1 Decrease 75.0
2019 150,735 Increase 6.1 16,746 Decrease 1.2 0 Decrease 100.0
2020 38,540 Decrease 74.4 12,731 Decrease 24.0 8 Increase nm
2021 78,520 Increase 103.7 18,013 Increase 41.5 0 Decrease 100.0
2022 173,785 Increase 121.3 20,319 Increase 12.8 0 Steady
2023 226,557 Increase 30.4 21,125 Increase 4.0 62 Increase nm


Busiest routes to and from Teesside International Airport (2023)[70]
Rank Airport Total
2022 / 23
1 Amsterdam 90,207 Increase 110.8%
2 Alicante 37,976 Increase 21.8%
3 Palma de Mallorca 36,482 Increase 36.8%
4 Faro 20,879 Increase 9.1%
5 Aberdeen 14,293 Decrease 22.0%
6 Burgas 6,666 Increase 39.9%
7 Corfu 5,723 Increase 2.9%
8 Antalya 4,957 Increase new route
9 Jersey 2,350 Decrease 1.1%
10 Belfast-City 1,365 Decrease 82.7%

Ground transport[edit]


Arriva North East operates a bus service (No.12) that runs from Hurworth and Darlington to the airport six times per day.[71][72] The extension of the service to the urban centre of Teesside east of the airport however, has been withdrawn as a result of cancellation of Stockton Council financial support.


The airport is situated off the A67 and is near the A1(M), A19 and A66 corridors. A significant upgrade to complete a fast link direct to the airport from the A66 was completed in 2008.[73]


Currently, Dinsdale railway station, about 2 miles (3.2 km) away in the nearby village of Middleton St George, is the closest station with regular passenger services, as well as a direct bus link with the terminal.

As of April 2022, Teesside Airport railway station is temporarily closed. The station has always been sparsely served, receiving two trains per week until December 2017 when the service was reduced to just one train every Sunday.[74] The airport is exploring the possibility of using more shuttle buses and "horizontal escalators" to boost patronage at the station in the future.[75]


Taxis are available directly outside the airport terminal.


  1. ^ The number of domestic and international passengers handled
  2. ^ The number of all aircraft takeoffs and landings at the airport


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External links[edit]

Media related to Teesside International Airport at Wikimedia Commons