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U.K.’s Doncaster Sheffield Airport Ceases Operations

While the travel demand is on the rise in the U.K., Doncaster Sheffield Airport has announced it will begin winding down its operations due to lack of tangible proposals. The struggling airport will continue to work closely with the passengers to minimize the disruption. Doncaster Sheffield mainly provides flight operations to Europe from the U.K.

Earlier, Doncaster said that the airport was challenged by the impact of the pandemic and increasingly environment considerations. The circumstance of the airport was exacerbated in the wake of the withdrawal of Wizz Air from the airport in June. TUI became the sole airline at Doncaster as a result.

It is believed 3,000 jobs will be affected, well beyond the 800 people directly employed by the airport. According to local media, Manchester Airport Groups, which owns Manchester Airport, London Stansted and East Midlands Airport, would offer job interview to all affected staffs.

The airport revealed that it is reeling from the high operating cost but lack of current or prospective revenue streams. Oliver Coppard, South Yorkshire’s Mayor was “devastated” on the decision which may affect the local economy.

Liz Truss, the new Prime Minister of the U.K., pledged to save Doncaster. Earlier, South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (SYMCA), which helps to oversee the area, had tried to do everything to save Doncaster and said a potential takeover the airport by a credible consortium could take place. SYMCA went even further by offering public money to the airport to fund its operating losses until Oct. 31, 2023. However, Peel, the parent company of the airport, turned down the proposal from the council.

“We will not accept any public sector grant to cover the costs of an airport that is not viable due to its lack of adequate forward revenues and high operating costs.” Steven Underwood, Chief Executive of Peel Group said.

According to Civil Aviation Authority, Doncaster handled 1.4 million passengers in 2019. In 2021, it handled nearly 310,000 passengers, the airport shared 5% of the market.

Peel Group acquired the airport site in 1999. Doncaster spread out its wings and became an international airport in 2005. But the airport fell short of making profit in spite of the increase of passenger numbers.

Last Carrier Standing

TUI, the only carrier at Doncaster, will operate its flight until Nov. 4.

“We’re incredibly disappointed about the decision to close Doncaster Sheffield Airport to passengers.” Andrew Flinthman, the spokesman of TUI in response to the closure of the airport.

“There are a number of other airports in the region that we operate from, including East Midland, Leeds Bradford and Manchester, so we will continue to offer great holiday options to a variety of destinations to those living in the area.” Flintham added. TUI has served Doncaster since 2005.

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