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Wednesday, June 23, 2021

The £6 passenger charge that left Teesside Airport going from Jamaican goals to the brink of closure

“THIS cost makes me extra inclined to make use of Newcastle”.

Building engineer John Johnson was a daily consumer of Teesside Airport again in 2010. Alongside Newcastle Airport, he would use the area’s main two journey hubs for his weekly enterprise journeys to Southampton.

However in November of that yr, his flight from Teesside would turn into dearer by the sum of £6. It might have appeared a small rise within the scale of the price of some flights, however it will have devastating penalties.

“It’s a little bit of a rip-off. I feel it’s unfair to move on the price of a failing enterprise to the shoppers,” he mentioned.

“It’s nice to have an airport in your doorstep, however they need to be seeking to enhance the service by attracting extra airways, in any other case I can see them persevering with to battle. This cost makes me extra inclined to make use of Newcastle.”

Many others felt the identical approach. The £6 passenger facility charge, paid utilizing fee machines that didn’t give change, aimed to usher in a lot wanted money to an airport that was struggling and seeing dwindling passenger numbers.

It adopted comparable schemes launched at quite a lot of regional airports, together with Blackpool, Newquay and Norwich. The then chief govt of Peel Airports, Craig Richmond, even claimed the charge would assist safe new flights to Jamaica and Cyprus.

What transpired couldn’t have taken Teesside any additional away from the tropical seashores of the Caribbean. Passenger numbers tumbled additional and the airport by no means got here near returning to revenue.

“I perceive some folks is likely to be fairly incensed by this announcement given the financial local weather. This isn’t an try to pad our pockets, we should do it to outlive,” Mr Richmond on the time.

“If I used to be a businessperson right here I might a lot favor to fly from an airport like this fairly than Heathrow or Gatwick the place, with all due respect, you’re a widget in an enormous machine.”

However inside days, Ryanair was contemplating the withdrawal of its service from the airport. By the next yr they have been gone, swiftly adopted by Thomsons in 2013.

The airport’s troubles during the last decade are properly documented, however whilst new flights have been secured lately, and cash is spent on the terminal to make it a flying expertise match for the twenty first century, the dreaded charge has remained.

However with a 3rd Ryanair flight secured for this summer time, regardless of all of the challenges and the impression of the coronavirus pandemic, inside six weeks it will likely be consigned to historical past.

Andrew Bumby from North Yorkshire, was an offshore supervisor with Fugro UK on the day the charge was launched. He mentioned that it was “the ultimate straw”, claiming that in future he would change to rival airports, akin to Leeds-Bradford, to keep away from paying the charge.

Many others did the identical, however the query now could be will they return?

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