Ben Houchen, the mayor of Tees Valley, has spoken out after DSA bosses said they were considering closuing the Finningley-based airport because of financial pressures brought on by the Covid pandemic and the departure of budget airline Wizz Air.
There has been widespread uproar and condemnation of the plans, with politicians, civic leaders, unions and members of the public uniting against Peel, with nearly 70,000 people signing petitions demanding the airport stay open.
The move by Peel has shades of its previous ownership of Teesside International Airport in the north east, with Mayor Houchen leading a £40m deal to take over the airport in 2018 after it was claimed the airport was being run down for closure so the land could be developed.
It brought the airport back into public ownership for the first time since it was sold to Peel in 2003.
Speaking about the plans for DSA he said: “When I was first elected, I promised to save Teesside Airport from closure as the owners Peel had a clear plan to run our airport down and turn it into a housing estate.
“Today I’m proud to say we’ve got many more flights, with more to come, and investment flocking to the airport creating good quality jobs for local people.
“Contrast our success and progress with that of Doncaster Sheffield Airport, which is still owned by Peel. An airport that showed much promise but the same gameplay from Peel has been rolled out and now it looks like it’s about to close.
“It just goes to show how right we were to save our amazing airport.
“I’m sure some of our local Labour MPs are now embarrassed given their past statements where they said that Peel had an ‘eminently sensible’ plan for Teesside Airport and that we should leave it in their hands and give them money to run it.
“I’m sorry for the people of Doncaster and Sheffield who will suffer as a result of this, but I’m pleased that we aren’t in the same position.”