Doncaster Sheffield Airport ‘may no longer be viable’

The board of Doncaster Sheffield Airport (DSA) announced it has begun a review of strategic options for the airport.

Airport owner Peel Group said aviation activity on the site may no longer be commercially viable and that aviation activity “may no longer be the use for the site which delivers the maximum economic and environmental benefit” to the region.

“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,” said DSA.

“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.

“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 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.

“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 for Doncaster and the wider Sheffield City Region.

“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.”

The airport will operate as normal during the Strategic Review.

Peel Airports Group chairman Robert Hough 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.”

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Mark McSherry
Dalriada Media LLC sites are edited by veteran news journalist Mark McSherry, a former staff editor and reporter with Reuters, Bloomberg and major newspapers including the South China Morning Post, London's Sunday Times and The Scotsman. McSherry's journalism has also appeared in The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Independent, The New York Times, London's Evening Standard and Forbes. McSherry is also a professor of journalism and communication arts in universities and colleges in New York City. Scottish-born McSherry has an MBA from the University of Edinburgh and a Certificate in Global Affairs from New York University.