Teesside International Airport made a loss of £13.8m in the last financial year, new figures reveal, with bosses blaming the coronavirus pandemic.
An updated business plan shows passenger numbers were badly hit by lockdowns and travel restrictions.
Middlesbrough MP Andy McDonald said “vast amounts of public money” had been given to the business and that the figures must be scrutinised.
Airport chiefs forecast it will achieve revenues of £30.5m by 2025.
The majority shareholding in the business is now a 75%-25% split between the Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA) and a newly formed charitable trust after operator Esken left the airport in July and handed back its share.
Despite its difficulties, officials said the pandemic had provided opportunities “which may not have otherwise materialised” as other airports closed.
They believe the loss was in line with other airports, which they said had also received higher levels of grant support than the £10m Teesside International was loaned by the TVCA earlier this year.
‘Figures don’t lie’
Their vision is to make Teesside a “mid-sized regional airport” with passenger numbers up from 141,000 per year to more than one million by March 2026, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.
Further revenue is forecast to be generated by the opening of a business park and a freight facility.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen, a Conservative, said the airport would emerge “stronger than ever” after the difficulties of the past 18 months.
“We’re confident of welcoming more than 400,000 passengers through our new terminal next year thanks to all of the new flights we’ve secured, and our investment in the terminal, creating an airport people will want to use time and time again.”
However, Labour’s Mr McDonald, a former shadow transport secretary, raised concerns over the withdrawal of some routes this summer.
“This is very rich on announcements and expressions of confidence, but the figures don’t lie. These are significant amounts of money.
“The bottom line is this has got to be thoroughly scrutinised. We cannot just ignore vast amounts of public money being directed towards the airport and yet people’s transport needs are not being properly addressed.”
Source: Civil Aviation Authority – Qatar