Wednesday, April 8, 2015

News: Region bids for Frankfurt link


Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield, the regional airport for the Sheffield city region, could benefit from improved links to Frankfurt, a major European aviation hub, if it can secure "start-up aid" from the Government.

The Regional Air Connectivity Fund has £56m available to cover three years of financial support to create new routes, boosting connectivity, increasing trade and supporting jobs in the regions.

Regional airports with fewer than five million passengers per year can bid into the fund and a new route from Doncaster Sheffield Airport (DSA) is one of 19 routes published recently by the Government.

Airline, BMI regional, is hoping to secure funding to start up a weekday return to Frankfurt from DSA starting in 2016. Germany's largest commercial airport is one of the most important air traffic hubs in the world. With approximately 58 million passengers a year, Frankfurt Airport is one of Europe's three largest airports and is also the biggest of the five Lufthansa hubs.

A shortlist of routes that will move forward to the next stage is set to be announced next month.

Peel Holdings 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.

Wizz Air recently announced that it is adding a new route making it ten destinations on the ultra-low-cost carrier from the airport. It will open its 21st base in Lublin in Poland with one new Airbus A320 later this year and will operate new three times weekly flights from Doncaster to Lublin.

Doncaster Sheffield Airport is Wizz Air's second largest UK base and the only one in Yorkshire. Currently, the airport operates a total of 33 Wizz Air flights per week to eight destinations including Bucharest in Romania, and Gdansk, Warsaw and Wroclaw in Poland.

A new route to Kosice was announced earlier this year and Riga and Bucharest launched in 2014.

Steve Gill, managing director of Doncaster Sheffield Airport said: "With the new Finningley and Rossington Regeneration Route Scheme (FARRRS) on track to connect the M18 to the airport, we believe demand in European destinations will continue to increase.

"Our relationship with Wizz goes from strength to strength and we look forward to working with them to provide an even wider range of locations for people to visit."

Doncaster Sheffield Airport website

Images: Wizz Air


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