Tuesday, December 9, 2014

News: Businesses become airport advocates

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A new Airport Advocacy initiative has been launched at Doncaster Sheffield Airport as part of the effort to attract more airlines to the city region.

Representatives from the private sector, including board members and the chair of the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), recently joined with council leaders, chamber chief executives and representatives of many big businesses, together with Peel and the airport management team to officially launch the initiative.

The last year has seen new staff put in place at the airport, with budgets behind them, and research has been carried out into leisure and business connectivity, identifying demand and what the region needs. A new five year business plan has now been approved.

Peel bought the site from the Ministry of Defence when it was RAF Finningley in 1999 and has invested around £150m. It was the first airport to open in 50 years when the first commercial flight took off in 2005.

The new link road currently under construction is of huge importance. The £60m FARRRS project, with £12m from Peel, is estimated to result in £1 billion of further investment and 14,000 jobs. It will reduce all important drive times and more airlines are starting to take notice.

Robert Hough, chairman of Peel Airports, who helped Liverpool John Lennon Airport grow from 200,000 passengers per annum to 5.8 million at its peak, welcomed the group and said: "Doncaster Sheffield Airport has so much potential and we are looking to businesses in the city region to work with the airport to help it reach that potential and in turn help the city region flourish."

Earlier this year Peel purchased 480 acres of additional land and said that the airport is "future-proofed" and has no constraints for expansion. With essential infrastructure in place it could double the passenger capacity in the very long term - up to 24 million every year.

James Newman, chair of the Sheffield City Region LEP, said: "For a city region to prosper it needs a successful airport. We can help the airport to achieve its potential by adding our voice and support in this new advocacy initiative.

"The new road will improve connectivity to the Sheffield City Region and with the voices of the airport advocacy group be a real pull for airlines to look at bringing their business to the airport."

The advocacy group will see businesses working closely with the airport to act as ambassadors, share data regarding their current business travel needs and add their voice of support in discussions with airlines.

Robin Hood Airport business website

Images: Robin Hood Airport

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