Darlington-based Wharton Construction has been awarded the building contract to bring a new duty-free shop to Teesside International Airport, as part of the multi-million-pound terminal transformation.
The development, which comes after World Duty-Free signed a new 12-year deal with the airport, has the potential to attract more holidaymakers and business clients to fly from Teesside, alongside attractions like The Goosepool bar and shop, which was also built by Wharton Construction.
Work on the 1,860 sq ft duty-free shop is underway and is expected to take six weeks, with the store planned to open in September.
Matthew Wharton, director of Wharton Construction, said the company was really pleased to be a part of the development of a second site at the airport, connecting the Tees Valley to the rest of the world.
“After completing work on the new Goosepool bar, it is great to be back at work in the airport further adding to the attractions British holidaymakers value when taking a trip abroad,” he said.
“Having a pre-flight drink or doing a spot of duty-free shopping is something of a tradition when jetting off abroad, so we are delighted to be putting our stamp on the airport in places that we believed will be well-used by air passengers in the coming years.
“It’s exciting to be part of a team of local suppliers and contractors who are giving the airport a new lease of life and we are very much looking forward to the official opening of the new duty-free shop.”
Other retail outlets and food premises, such as the Landside Café, Transporter Bar and Kitchen, News Essentials and the House of Zana and Rejoy boutique store have also opened, honouring the Tees Valley Combined Authority’s commitment to using local businesses, contractors and suppliers.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said having local firms on board with the transformation of the airport, which also includes new state-of-the-art body and bag scanners for quick, safe and seamless travel through the terminal, was “a must”.
He said: “We were determined to support local businesses through the procurement process, and we are really pleased to welcome Wharton Construction at the airport for a second time to build what is an exciting addition of a duty-free shop.
“The local businesses that have either set up shop in the airport or helped to build parts of the terminal share our pride in its transformation and the return of what is now a world-class passenger airport terminal.
“With Ryanair flying from Teesside to Alicante, Palma, Majorca and Corfu this summer and the return of TUI in summer 2022, we are sure the duty-free shop will become a well-used and welcome addition to the airport’s food, drink and retail offering.”
Neil Ramsey, secretary of the Northern Counties Builders Federation (NCBF), a regional organisation which represents SME building contractors by safeguarding their interests, commented: “Wharton Construction has been a member of NCBF for many years and I am delighted to see that the firm is picking up some great projects, like this one, following the pandemic.
“NCBF is also very pleased that Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen is honouring his commitment to using local firms whenever possible as SMEs play such a key role within the regional economy, particularly within the construction sector.”
Wharton Construction secured more than £7m worth of work in the Tees Valley during the first six months of 2021 and the latest work on the airport is part of a further £8m of projects it expects to start before the end of the year.