RAF Base

The airport began its life as Royal Air Force Station Goosepool, and in 1941 became RAF Middleton St. George.

During World War II, the airfield was used by 76 Squadron flying Halifaxes, 78 Squadron flying Whitleys, 419 Squadron (Royal Canadian Air Force) flying Wellingtons, Halifaxes and Lancasters, 420 Squadron (Royal Canadian Air Force) flying Wellingtons and 428 Squadron (Royal Canadian Air Force) flying Wellingtons, Halifaxes and Lancasters.

After the war, the aerodrome served various squadrons and units including No. 13 Operational Training Unit (OTU), No. 2 Air Navigation School, No. 4 Flight Training School, and squadrons that used Meteors, Hunters, Javelins and Lightnings.

It was in a Lancaster based here that Flight Officer Andrew Mynarski carried out an act of such heroism that he was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross, the last VC to be awarded to an airman of World War II.

Teesside International

In 1963, the decision was made to close the airfield, and it was purchased by the late Cleveland County Council who saw the potential of the airfield as a commercial one, and developed it into what it is today. Princess Margaretha of Sweden opened the international passenger terminal in 1966.

The first scheduled service to operate from Teesside International Airport was to Manchester, and since then the airport has developed a small, yet strong network of both scheduled, and inclusive tour routes.

In 2002, the airport sought a strategic partner to assist with future development and Peel Airports Ltd was selected as the preferred partner, taking a 75% stake in the airport.

Durham Tees Valley Airport

In September 2004, Teesside International Airport slipped into history as Durham Tees Valley Airport was born. The airport chartered a Spanair McDonnell Douglas MD83 to mark the event, with the aircraft being the last to depart Teesside and the first to arrive at Durham Tees Valley.

The name was changed in order to better place the airport geographically, as a lot of the airport’s passengers, particularly foreign ones, were unfamiliar with the location of Teesside, but most knew where Durham was.

The airport was getting ready to undergo a £56 million expansion and development programme during the mid-2000s, this never materialised however.

In November 2006, bmibaby closed their two-aircraft Durham Tees Valley base, Flyglobespan replaced them almost immediately, but they too left in October 2008. During February 2009, bmi ceased flying to London Heathrow, ending an almost 40-year old route.

On July 2nd 2010, Canadian airport operators Vancouver Airports Services (YVRAS) purchased a 65% stake in the airports division of Peel Holdings, effectively making them the majority owners of Durham Tees Valley Airport.

During October 2010, Peel Airports / Vancouver Airport Services announced a £6 “Passenger Facility Fee”. The new tax was intended to cut airport losses but proved controversial, with mixed reactions from the general public.

On 14th December 2011 the airport was put up for sale by Peel Airports / Vancouver Airport Services. This sparked panic of closure amongst the local public and MPs, but on 10th February 2012, Peel Investments (DTVA) Limited bought back the airport.


Return to Public Ownership

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen made it his election pledge to buy the airport and return it to public ownership. This was realised in early 2019 when a sale was agreed with Peel Airports to buy the airport and land for £40m.

Following this, Stobart Group was announced as the operator of the airport, with a small stake in the ownership, and a charge to bring in new routes.

In July 2019, following a public vote, the airport’s name reverted back to Teesside International, with a fresh rebrand.


Historic Events Timeline

1941: RAF base opened at Middleton St George, known locally as Goosepool
1964: April First flight from the airport took place in the form of a Mercury Airlines flight to Manchester, followed later in the year with BKS operating a Heathrow service
1966: New terminal opened by Queen Margaritha of Sweden
1969: November First flight to London Heathrow with British Midland – a route which still exists today
1985: Airport celebrates its 21st birthday
1986: Airport charters Concorde for the day
1990: One millionth aircraft movement occurs in the form of a British Midland service to London Heathrow
1994: Airtours launch substantial inclusive tour programme, south side development planned, and FR Aviation announce base operation
1996: Cleveland County Council disbanded, airport ownership divided amongst several Borough Councils
1996: Worlds largest aircraft (at the time), an Antonov 124 Condor arrives from Houston, Texas
1997: Half a million passenger movements, Ryanair announce service to Dublin
2003: Peel Airports Ltd takes a 75% stake in the airport and will invest £20m over 5 years
2004: April, Airport’s 40th anniversary
2004: September, The airport changes its name from Teesside International to Durham Tees Valley
2005: January, Major expansion plans announced which will enable the airport to handle up to 3 million passengers annually
2005: April, Sky Express bus service launched
2006: January, Work begins on new terminal front
2006: September 14th, Airports largest operating airline, bmibaby, announce they are to leave
2006: October 6th Flyglobespan announce a two-aircraft base operation at Durham Tees Valley Airport, thus replacing bmibaby
2008: October 20th Flyglobespan announce they’re closing their Durham Tees Valley base
2009: February 18th bmi announce they’re ending their 40-year old Heathrow route
2010: July 2nd Canadian airport operator Vancouver Airport Services (YVRAS) purchased 65% of the airports division of Peel Holdings, effectively making them majority owners of Durham Tees Valley Airport
2010: October 19th Airport unveil controversial new £6 tax called the “Passenger Facility Fee”
2011: December 14th Airport is placed up for sale by Peel Airports / Vancouver Airport Services
2012: February 10th Airport is purchased by Peel Investments (DTVA) Limited from Peel Airports / Vancouver Airport Services
2019: Duham Tees Valley bought by Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen. Stobart Group announced as new operator.
2019: July, airport name reverts to Teesside International Airport, with new logo and branding.

3 thoughts on “History

  1. A Reader says:

    The Airport should have kept the name Durham Tees, hardly anybody overseas has heard of Teesside, not surprisingly as it doesn’t officially exist as a region anymore.

  2. k,m, andrews says:

    I remember the old days with Mike Cairns at the CFS when Teesside Airport had just opened and the airport was heaving with trainee pilots. Beer was ten bob a pint and the airport was vibrant.

  3. DAVID CRAWT says:

    ‘A Reader’, I partly agree about the airport name. Most airports have the name of a town or city in them so folks can easily identify where they are. My suggestion was to call it either Teesside International (Darlington) Airport or Teesside International (Middlesbrough) airport.

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