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U.K.’s Doncaster Sheffield Airport Could Resume Service
The U.K. airport could receive air service again after a one year hiatus.
After almost one year of ceasing flight operations, U.K.’s Doncaster Sheffield Airport could revive in two years, according to Mirror.
Doncaster closed its doors last November as a result of a lack of financial viability and high fixed costs. Last year, the airport turned down the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (SYMCA)’s financial lifeline and believed the public sector grant was not viable. The closure of the airport left the council devastated. Ironically, Doncaster was crowned as the best airport in the U.K. ahead of its closure.
EY, a consultant company, has shed light on the future profitability, expecting the airport could make a profit within five years, and deliver up to a billion pounds to the region in jobs while also increasing land value. The report has reviewed that Doncaster could attract up to two million passengers a year within a decade, more than pre-pandemic levels.
“Still a long way to go but there’s some light at the end of the tunnel,” Oliver Coppard, the mayor of South Yorkshire, said.
The City of Doncaster (CDC) has held a series of meetings with Peel Group, the airport’s landowner. CDC is willing to take on a 100-year lease on the site, but Peel hasn’t accepted the proposal thus far.
The council has gone further in preparing a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) to regain the site if a deal cannot be reached. The council has prepared 3.1 million pounds ($3.8 million) for legal fees, in case a CPO is required.
Determined to Relaunch Doncaster
Meanwhile, the authority has negotiated with 15 private sector firms interested in operating the future airport. The interested parties could be bidding for the contract by October 25. The new operator is expected to be chosen in March 2024. Also, the Civil Aviation Authority pushed back a decision on whether the site control airspace should be removed.
“Since the future of Doncaster Sheffield Airport was first threatened, we’ve always said we would do whatever we could to save our airport,” Coppard said.
CDC believes that the reopening of the airport could be a catalyst for economic growth and would restore international connectivity for Doncaster and South Yorkshire, which is currently the biggest city in Europe without an airport. The airport is forecast to create almost 5,000 direct jobs as well as creating up to 11,500 jobs in the wider economy.
“Saving the airport is critically important for Doncaster and South Yorkshire,” Ros Jones, the mayor of Doncaster, said.
Doncaster recorded an operating loss of 4.3 million pounds and handled about 400,000 passengers in the 12 months ending in March 2022. TUI became the sole airline at Doncaster after the withdrawal of Wizz Air from the airport last June.
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