Page last updated at 11:49 GMT, Thursday, 30 April 2009 12:49 UK

Airport loses 12m damages claim

Durham Tees Valley Airport
Budget airlines have recently cut routes from the airport

Durham Tees Valley Airport has lost a£12m damages claim in the High Court against budget airline BMI Baby, which quit the airport three years ago.

The airport, near Darlington, blamed the carrier for big losses after it withdrew services in 2006.

Durham Tees Valley Airport Ltd claimed the airline flouted an agreed contract.

But Mr Justice Davis said the terms of the contract were too vague and ruled against the airport, although he said an appeal could be lodged.

The airport is now facing a legal bill which could top £1m, with BMI Baby claiming its costs are £700,000.

'Exaggerated claim'

Durham Tees Valley argued the airline breached a contract, signed in April 2003, which obliged it to fly two of its planes out of the airport for a minimum of 10 years.

But in 2006, Bmi Baby said it was looking at losses of more than £3m and could no longer justify operating services from the airport.

Lawyers for BMI Baby said the airport's damages claim was "exaggerated".

After the hearing a BMI Baby spokesman said: "We are delighted with the result of the case, but disappointed that we had to go to court at all and incur the costs and management distraction that litigation involves.

"We were always confident that we had a strong case and we can hopefully now put the matter behind us."

Durham Tees Valley Airport said it was considering its response to the judgement.

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