Wednesday, July 13, 2022

News: Region's airport under review as concerns continue over commercial viability

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The Board of Doncaster Sheffield Airport (DSA) has begun a review of strategic options for the Airport. This review follows lengthy deliberations by the Board of DSA which has reluctantly concluded that aviation activity on the site may no longer be commercially viable.

Whilst business parks have continued to be built around the site at pace, the airport itself has been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and Brexit.

DSA’s owner, the Peel Group, as the Airport’s principal funder, has reviewed the conclusions of the Board of DSA 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.

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The board said in a statement that "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 10 June 2022 of the unilateral withdrawal of the Wizz Air based aircraft, leaving the Airport with only one base carrier, namely 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 that aviation activity may no longer be the use for the site which delivers the maximum economic and environmental benefit to the region."

DSA and the Peel Group now intends to 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 for Doncaster and the wider Sheffield City Region.

Robert Hough, Chairman of Peel Airports Group, which includes Doncaster Sheffield Airport, 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 for Doncaster and for South Yorkshire. The Peel Group remains committed to delivering economic growth, job opportunities and prosperity for Doncaster and the wider region.”

During the strategic review, the airport will operate as normal.

DSA website

Images: DSA

9 comments:

Anonymous,  July 13, 2022 at 11:52 AM  

More like aviation may no longer be the use for the site which delivers the maximum economic benefit to our shareholders.

Its exaclty what happened at Sheffield city airport!

Anonymous,  July 13, 2022 at 8:54 PM  

Peel holdings did eeactly the same with Sheffield City airport. Run it down and then sold off the land for commercial profit. This needs looking at by the government and transport committee. Peel Holdings need to sell the airport as a going concern to someone who can run it properly.

Anonymous,  July 13, 2022 at 11:27 PM  

Peel also owned Teeside airport and attempted the same. After running the site down they claimed it was not viable and proposed a housing development. This was blocked as the local authority took over the airport.

Anonymous,  July 14, 2022 at 10:38 AM  

On other hand....with global warming,wernt we getting told to curb air travel ,pre-covid??Or have we all forgot about the approaching catastrophe that is climate change.

Anonymous,  July 14, 2022 at 1:29 PM  

I didn't realise Peel had a bit of form in doing things like this. I watched the news last night, and in addition the cases quoted in the earlier comments, you can also add Cardiff airport to the list, which was rescued by the Welsh Government.

The difficulty I have with Doncaster Airport is that it doesn't seem to fly to where I want to get to. I remember it took me about an hour and half to get there from Rotherham when it first opened, but the transport links are excellent to it now. It's a real shame as it's one of the nicest airports I've visited.

If Peel does close it, I do hope they are forced to contribute to the millions of pounds invested in creating the M18 link road.

The cynic in me thinks that Peel is playing the political game here... new leadership in Westminster, most of the candidates talking about cuts, and perhaps they think it's the north that's going suffer most as a result. Or there has been discussions about investment in the buses and rail network and perhaps they are flexing their muscles to grab a slice of the pie.

It'll be interesting to see how SYMCA respond. Does anyone know if aviation falls under the new mayor's remit?

Anonymous,  July 14, 2022 at 10:11 PM  

If summat isn't working,ie this particular airport,then shut it simple, plenty of other airports within easy distance,and as someone as said,aren't we supposed to be cutting back on air travel,or as they say,is climate change no.longet an issue?

John Hensby July 15, 2022 at 7:16 AM  

Or is it because adding the moniker "Sheffield" onto places that are NOT actually Sheffield puts the kiss of death on things: City Airport in Rotherham, Finningley airport in Doncaster, etc. They're a jonah!

In all seriousness though, as others have stated Peel do have form for this (more form than I had previously realised). Either it's a pre determined strategy, in which case it's despicable, or their planning team are not very good at what they do!

Anonymous,  July 15, 2022 at 1:21 PM  

Don't know if I can share this link, but the statement and reasons Wizz Air gave for leaving Doncaster Airport are telling. It appears like plans to close the airport have been brewing for some time.

It appears from the statement that they didn't plan to leave and blamed the airport for the decision: https://simpleflying.com/wizz-air-cuts-flights-from-doncaster-sheffield-airport/

Anonymous,  July 16, 2022 at 10:01 AM  

Get it shut...make life quieter again,why should everyone suffer noise of unwanted planes,when it's only a tiny number use it,and as said above ,were supposed to be cutting back on air travel ,because of climate change,or have we forgot about that, doesn't it exist now??in meantime,enjoy those 40c temps,what air travel in part as caused!

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