The new boss said he was delighted that he would now be able to leave the Riverside Stadium dugout and jet to his home in Cornwall direct from Teesside International, and he was quick to take advantage of the new service.

“It’s been an absolute life saver for me,” said a delighted Warnock. “It’s an hour and 10 minutes for me to Newquay which would otherwise be a six-and-a-half drive.

“For me people in this part of the country it’s such an easy way to see a wonderful part of the country. Cornwall is an amazing place, and Teesside is a wonderful airport to use, so we’re all lucky we can have the best of both worlds.”

Eastern Airways’ first flight to the popular tourist destination departed from Teesside on 6 July, on the same day that the airport’s first connection to the capital in more than a decade, to London City Airport, also took off.

After just two weeks of operation, owing to popular demand, Eastern Airways has had to increase the size of the plane on the route. Due to forward bookings and how well the route is performing, it has also been revealed that the flight will extend beyond the end of its season in September, becoming a year-round service.

The flights will continue to operate on Mondays and Fridays, giving passengers the choice of weekend minibreaks, week-long staycations or even longer visits to the South West coastal town, famous for its beaches and surf.

In less than a fortnight, on 3 August, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines will also be restarting its route to Amsterdam Schiphol, initially for once-daily flights, moving to three-times daily as the market allows. The airport continues to be in discussions with airline operators on the roll-out of further flights soon.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “When we worked with Eastern Airways to schedule our new destinations, we knew they would be popular, but we never expected to be increasing capacity and making Newquay a year-round service within days of its launch. 

“We greeted the Boro team at the airport when they flew out to beat Millwall 2-0 and then again for their 2-1 victory over Reading - a 100% record when flying from Teesside! Here’s hoping Neil decides to be a frequent flyer on this expanded service to his home region. 

“It has been a difficult few months for all airports, with our closure due to the coronavirus pandemic pausing our regular flights and putting some new routes on hold, but during that time we haven’t slowed down. We’re coming back fighting, not just getting our old flights up and running again, but extending our offer as people are becoming comfortable about flying again.

“I told the people of Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool that they should get behind our airport and to use it or they’d lose it, and I’m delighted to see they’re doing just that. It’s great to see the enthusiasm which is going both ways between Teesside and the popular staycation spot. 

“This public support isn’t just important to keep us flying to popular holiday and business destinations, it will show we’re a region open to inward investment coming through our terminal and forms a major part of my jobs plan for economic recovery following the coronavirus pandemic.” 

Roger Hage, General Manager Commercial & Operations for Eastern Airways, said: “The initial response to adding Newquay to the growing mix of Teesside services in our partnership with the airport has been very positive and why such a service can be sustainable year-round which we are delighted as Eastern Airways to deliver as the UK’s regional airline. 

"This helps give not simply Teesside locally, but the wider North Yorkshire, Durham and Northumberland year-round access to the South-west and vice-versa, all helping business and tourism related economic recovery.”

In line with Government guidance and for the wellbeing and safety of staff and passengers, Teesside International Airport is currently only open to those planning to travel and airport staff. New health and safety measures have also been put in place for the airport, with six simple steps including hand sanitisation points and face masks now in operation.

Flight information and more details on safety measures can be found at www.teessideinternational.com