Doncaster Sheffield Airport to close despite financial lifeline offer, with…
September 26, 2022, 4:56 PM
Doncaster Sheffield Airport (DSA) will close, after Peel Group owners said ‘no tangible proposals’ had been received for its future ownership, with 800 jobs lost.
The Peel Group had been offered public funds to finance DSA’s operating losses until 2023.
But a spokesperson said that in the absence of “real proposals to address DSA’s lack of viability”, the board concluded “it cannot responsibly accept public money for this very uncertain process in the context of an unsustainable and loss-making operating activity.
The airport opened in 2005 and was converted by Peel from the former RAF Finningley air base.
The airport is used by the airlines “Tui” and “Wizz Air” and serves destinations such as the Canary Islands, the Balearic Islands, Greece, Turkey, Poland and the Baltic States. The Peel Group said services at the airport, which employs 800 people, would cease from October 31.
The loss comes after Doncaster was granted city status earlier this year.
Peel Group says there are not enough airlines interested in making Doncaster a base. The number of flights at the airport has more than halved since 2019.
Robert Hough, Chairman of Peel Airports, said: “The intractable problem remains the fundamental and insufficient lack of current or potential revenue streams, and the airport’s high operating costs.”
Mr Hough said his “immediate priority” was the airport staff, whom he described as “DSA’s greatest asset”, and said he would “continue to work closely with them over the next weeks”.
“We will do everything we can to minimize the impact of these proposals and will work closely with local authorities and agencies to support our employees during what we know will be an extremely difficult time,” Hough added.
Peel referred to the potential value of the site for alternative employment; many believe it will be warehousing and light industry, with the two-mile runway and associated airport infrastructure relegated to aviation history.
South Yorkshire Mayor Oliver Coppard said he was “devastated by today’s announcement” and angry at the impact the closure would have on local communities.
Mr Coppard said there were hundreds of people in Doncaster and South Yorkshire who would now be “scared for their future”.
“Liz Truss said she would protect the airport. Now is the time to turn those words into action.”
Coppard said the airport had received public funding for years, but turned down the offer of continued support, as well as the opportunity to meet potential new investors:
“The fact that they chose to refuse our offer just confirms what many of us suspected: that Peel was never serious about finding an alternative and safeguarding DSA’s future.
“It’s not too late for them to do the right thing; to reconsider their decision in the interest of the employees, companies and communities directly affected by this appalling decision.
Peel Group said it received a letter from the mayor’s office earlier this month saying a group interested in buying the airport had come forward, but added it had not received more. details about this potential buyer.
The head of the Doncaster Chamber of Commerce, Dan Fell, said the news of the closure was “hugely disappointing for Doncaster, South Yorkshire and the Northern Provinces”:
“There is an incredibly generous offer of support to keep the airport running for 12 months to allow an appropriate period to find ways to retain and improve this unique economic asset, but unfortunately that offer has been declined.
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A spokesperson for the Department for Transport said the decision was “incredibly disappointing” for passengers and staff.
The spokesperson added: “We strongly encourage local leaders and the Peel Group to work together and find a solution for the site that will benefit local people and the region’s economy.”