Stobart Group’s domination of the skies is continuing after it was unveiled as the new operator for Durham Tees Valley Airport.

The Carlisle-based group – which recently announced the start of commercial flights from Carlisle Lake District Airport – has entered into a joint venture with the airport’s new owners Tees Valley Combined Authority.

Stobart Group will be responsible for oversight and the development of the airport. It will also implement a 10-year rescue plan to increase passenger numbers to 1.4 million, secure a low-cost carrier by 2022, and drive the creation of 7,600 jobs.

The group will also hold a minority share in the airport, now under public ownership after Peel Group transferred its 89 per cent shareholding and 819 aces of surrounding land to the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority.

The new venture was announced in what has been a hectic few weeks of announcements involving Stobart Group’s aviation activities.

Earlier this month it set the date of July 4 for Scottish airline Loganair to begin daily flights from Carlisle to Dublin, Belfast and London Southend.

In a trading update this week, it reported a 33 per cent increase in passenger numbers at its other airport, London Southend, which now stands at 1.5 million. The group also revealed that the majority of its planned future investment is set to take place at the airport with an ambition to serve up to 10m passengers a year.

Also, this week it the Connect Airways Consortium – which includes Stobart Aviation, Virgin Atlantic and Cyrus Capital – competed the takeover of troubled airline Flybe. Stobart Aviation owns 30 per cent in the consortium, which will operate a network of regional flights under the Virgin Atlantic brand.

Glyn Jones, chief executive of Stobart Aviation, said the company was “proud to be part of the ambitious” scheme put transform the fortunes of Durham Tees Valley Airport 

“Stobart Aviation has built up 10 years’ valuable experience and expertise from successfully operating London Southend Airport, taking it from under 5,000 passengers in 2009 to 1.5million in 2018,” he said.

“We look forward to bringing that experience and expertise to Durham Tees Valley Airport.”

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen revealed that he had been in discussions with Stobart Group “for quite some time” before shaking hands on the deal.

He revealed that the airport had been months from closure after being “run in to the ground” but was now positive about the future thanks to Stobart Group involvement.

“Stobart is a huge company with significant experience, knowledge and expertise in the aviation sector,” he said.

“They’re no stranger to turning around airports – just look at what they have achieved at London Southend and Carlisle Lake District Airport.

“Stobart will hold a minority share in our airport with a clear and overwhelming incentive to turn it around. They have the experience, credibility and relationships with airlines to make Teesside fly again and they’re the right partner for Teesside,” he added.