New Strategy to Secure Durham’s Future

UK regional airport, Durham Tees Valley has developed a major Business Travel Survey to gather the views of the region’s business communities.

UK regional airport, Durham Tees Valley has developed a major Business Travel Survey to gather the views of the region’s business communities.

The travel survey is part of the wider plan to streamline the airport as a business, and improve its development strategy. As well as asking survey respondents to indicate their preferred airports, the survey is seeking views on the key factors affecting business travellers’ choice of air service.

The North East England regional airport is hoping to understand passengers’ current view on its existing services, and the way in which the passenger experience could be improved.

“We are really asking the local business community to work with us in taking forward the objectives in the Master Plan to provide the air services which can support our local economy and companies,” said Chris Harcombe, head of aviation development, Peel Airports.

In 2013, Airport chiefs revealed a master plan for the site’s future, which includes proposals for reconfiguring the terminal to meet the needs of business and scheduled service passengers.

“One of the key ways in which they can help is in providing the information which we need to demonstrate business demands in our discussions with both new and existing airlines. They want as much information as possible when considering which services to operate and this survey can make a major contribution in ensuring we can make a strong case for Durham Tees Valley,” added Harcombe.

The airline's new masterplan, launched last year, was based on the need to develop a strategy that wasn’t focussed on chasing a path to sustainability built solely on passenger growth but that opted a more diverse and mature approach to protect and grow a strategic regional asset.  The former, its management believe, would have simply been a path to joining a list of failed regional airports.

The airport now mainly operates to destinations in Scotland and Norway, with partners Eastern Airways to Aberdeen, Stornoway, Wick, Bergen and Stavanger, as well as having a thrice daily link to Amsterdam with KLM.

The masterplan is seeking to protect the region’s global connectivity via the KLM link to Amsterdam, but also developing complementary new services to support the regional business community’s needs.  Away from the scheduled market, the strategy also looks to diversify aviation activity across the site, particularly through a growth in General Aviation activities and attract inward investment across the site.

Since the publication of the masterplan, Peel Airports has started working to deliver on its promises.  It has invested in marketing the airport including the launch of a new brand, marketing activity and website, launched of a new loyalty scheme, recruite a Partnership & Communications Executive at the site to work with corporates and regional partners.  Improvements have already been made to the terminal building, enhancing the passenger experience, while positive results have been made in attracting a broader aviation activity across the site.

The airport has seen a dramatic decrease in passenger numbers since 2007, with the greatest decline in 2009 after the airport lost its link to London Heathrow. Passenger numbers declined by 55.9 percent between 2008 and 2009, and have steadily decreased ever since, with the passenger numbers for 2014 at 142,379.

The survey is available via the home page of the airport’s recently launched new website

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