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Old 8th Oct 2014, 20:02
  #269 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Northumberland
Posts: 4,455
Somebody will need to put forward a significant "public interest" aregument to overcome the 'commercial in confidence' defence against a FOI request.

The airport was sold for £500K because it needed investment and the local authorities couldn't afford it. Apologies for the lengthy quote, but this was the explanation from the time:

On 07/01/03 it was announced that Peel Airports would be the ‘preferred bidder’ to become a Strategic Partner in the airports long-term development, with detailed negotiations taking place with the aim of finalising an agreement by March. Councillor Bob Gibson, speaking on behalf of the shareholder authorities, said they were impressed with the level of investment and expertise which the company was prepared to commit to Teesside International, coupled with the its strong track record in the transportation and property development fields. Peel will be working with the local authority shareholders to bring forward development of commercial property at the airport, including the regionally important Southside site, in addition to the operational business of the airport. Peel Airports Ltd owns Liverpool John Lennon Airport (one of the fastest growing airports in the UK) and also plans to develop a new commercial airport on the site of the former RAF Finningley, while its parent company Peel Holdings also owns the Manchester Ship Canal and the Trafford Centre shopping complex in Manchester. Under the proposals, Peel Airports will acquire a majority shareholding in the Airport, but the local authorities will retain a significant interest in the company and will be involved in its continuing development. Said Councillor Gibson “We were impressed by the high levels of interest shown by a large number of quality organisations in becoming involved in the continuing development of Teesside International. When we announced the start of the process last year we stressed we were looking for potential partners who could demonstrate they had the resources to deliver the required investment, together with experience of public/private partnerships and the workings of the airport industry. Peel Airports certainly meets all those criteria. It has an impressive track record in the development of many major projects across the North of England, including of course Liverpool John Lennon Airport which has gone from strength to strength since the company became involved with it five years ago.”

Added Councillor Ken Hall, Chairman of the Airport Board “It has been made clear to us that, if we can successfully conclude an agreement, investment in upgrading Teesside International could start virtually straight away, with a total of £20million being made available over a five year period. This will enable the Airport to provide the quality of terminal and other facilities which will attract both a much wider range of services and greatly increased passengers numbers with the prospect of reaching an annual figure of 1.5million, twice current levels, within five years. We believe the appointment of Peel Airports as a strategic partner would be in the interests of the Airport, its customers, staff and the economic future of our area.” Explained Airport Managing Director Hugh Lang “The local authorities, supported by the Airport management, began the process of securing a private sector strategic partner because we believed it was the most viable option for securing the levels of investment needed for the key projects which will enable the Airport to maximise its own potential and contribute to the regeneration of the communities its serves. Those projects and the levels of funding required were identified through a comprehensive assessment undertaken by the Airport Management, together with the regional development agency One NorthEast and external consultants. Other agencies, including the Tees Valley Partnership and Tees Valley Urban Regeneration Company, are also closely involved in supporting the Airport as a key element in the local economy.”

Robert Hough, chairman of Peel Airports, said: "Teesside International Airport has seen significant improvements, but in an increasingly competitive market for air services it is now entering an important phase in its development. We believe this proposed investment by Peel will enable its full potential to be achieved, providing greater choice to business and leisure passengers alike in a major conurbation and also bringing significant economic benefits. For Peel, it enables the group to expand in the regional airport sector, where it has achieved considerable success in recent years, particularly in the growth at Liverpool John Lennon Airport. With Liverpool in the North West and probably also Finningley in Yorkshire , the Peel Group will be able to serve the three key northern regions of England". Peter Nears, Peels strategic planning director, said: "Airports are widely recognised as drivers of economic growth and therefore maximising the regenerative benefits Teesside International Airport can bring to the local economy will be a priority. In particular, we see synergies between the services the airport provides and adjacent commercial development opportunities."
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