Doncaster Sheffield Airport could permanently close, bosses say in shock announcement

One of the Mansfield’s nearest large airports could close permanently, bosses have said in a shock announcement.

By Darren Burke
Wednesday, 13th July 2022, 3:04 pm
Updated Thursday, 14th July 2022, 7:36 am

Bosses at Doncaster Sheffield Airport have announced ‘aviation activity on the site may no longer be commercially viable’.

It comes after budget airline Wizz Air announced it was cancelling all flights earlier this year and the departure of a number of top bosses.

In a statement, a spokesman said: “The board of Doncaster Sheffield Airport has begun a review of strategic options for the airport.

Doncaster Sheffield Airport.

“This review follows lengthy deliberations by the board which has reluctantly concluded aviation activity on the site may no longer be commercially viable.

“DSA’s owner, the Peel Group, as the airport’s principal funder, has reviewed the conclusions of the board and commissioned external independent advice in order to evaluate and test the conclusions drawn, which concurs with the board’s initial findings.

“Since the Peel Group acquired the Airport site in 1999 and converted it into an international commercial airport, which opened in 2005, significant amounts have been invested in the terminal, the airfield and its operations, both in relation to the original conversion and subsequently to improve the facilities and infrastructure on offer to create an award winning airport.

“However, despite growth in passenger numbers, DSA has never achieved the critical mass required to become profitable and this fundamental issue of a shortfall in passenger numbers is exacerbated by the announcement on June 10 of the unilateral withdrawal of the Wizz Air-based aircraft, leaving the airport with only one base carrier, TUI.

“This challenge has been increased by other changes in the aviation market, the well-publicised impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and increasingly important environmental considerations.

“It has therefore been concluded aviation activity may no longer be the use for the site which delivers the maximum economic and environmental benefit to the region.

“Against this backdrop, DSA and the Peel Group, will initiate a consultation and engagement programme with stakeholders on the future of the site and how best to maximise and capitalise on future economic growth opportunities.

“The wider Peel Group is already delivering significant development and business opportunities on its adjoining GatewayEast development including the recent deal for over 400,000 sq ft logistics and advanced manufacturing development on site, creating hundreds of new jobs and delivering further economic investment in the region.”

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Robert Hough, Peel Airports Group chairman, said: “It is a critical time for aviation globally.

“Despite pandemic-related travel restrictions slowly drawing to a close, we are still facing ongoing obstacles and dynamic long-term threats to the future of the aviation industry.

“The actions by Wizz to sacrifice its base at Doncaster to shore up its business opportunities at other bases in the South of England are a significant blow for the airport.

"Now is the right time to review how DSA can best create future growth opportunities.

“The Peel Group remains committed to delivering economic growth, job opportunities and prosperity for the wider region.

“DSA and the Peel Group pride themselves on being forward-thinking whilst prioritising the welfare of staff and customers alike. As such, no further public comments will be made whilst they undertake this engagement period with all stakeholders.”