Budget airlines have recently cut routes from the airport
Bosses at Durham Tees Valley Airport have insisted it can survive the economic downturn, despite a reported drop in passenger numbers of 50%.
The Airport Operators Association (AOA) warned the airport, near Darlington, could struggle to survive as the recession continues to bite.
But airport director Kerry Quinn said current passenger slumps were a "blip".
Recently the airport has seen carriers Ryanair, Fly Globespan and BMI all cut routes to UK and European destinations.
The AOA said regional airports like Durham Tees Valley and Blackpool had been hit as result of budget airlines squeezing costs.
But Ms Quinn said Durham Tees Valley remained optimistic that passengers would continue to use the airport.
She said: "The whole of the airport industry is going through a difficult time as is the airline industry and many other industries.
"We have got to take a long-term view on this and while there may be short-term blips in terms of passenger figures, we have to look at what is ahead of us in the future.
"We have had a very buoyant Easter, with 5,000 passengers travelling through the airport and we have a very exciting summer programme.
"So actually we are not all doom and gloom and we just have to make sure we provide our customers with what they want."