The long-term future of Doncaster Sheffield Airport (DSA) looks bleak after its owner confirmed the site is to close. The Peel Group said “no tangible proposals” had been received from potential suitors for the South Yorkshire Airport leaving it with no viable alternative.
Peel said it will “begin winding down the provision of aviation services” from October 31, adding that it will work with customers and other users to minimise disruption.
This commitment to reduce the impact of the closure was not enough for Oliver Coppard, the mayor of South Yorkshire, who launched a blistering attack on the airport’s current owners. He alleged that despite his office presenting possible options to Peel, they appeared determined to shut the site.
“I’m devastated by today’s announcement by Peel and angry about the impact it will have on our communities… The fact that they [Peel Group] chose to turn down our offer simply confirms what many of us suspected: that Peel was never serious about finding an alternative and safeguarding the future of DSA.”
The fate of DSA has been in doubt since July, when Peel announced a strategic review of operations, consulting with local and national stakeholders to find possible ways forward. This came just a few weeks after Wizz Air – the airport’s main airline customer – radically reduced its flying programme from DSA.
In a blunt assessment of the status quo and future outlook Peel said: “None of these discussions has delivered any tangible results that have changed the Board of DSA or Peel’s clear view that the airport is and will remain unviable.”
“The high fixed costs associated with running a safe, regulated airport, together with recent events materially reducing prospective future aviation income streams, mean that a break-even business plan cannot be identified for the foreseeable future. Regretfully, no tangible proposals have been received regarding the ownership of the airport or which address the fundamental lack of financial viability,” the Peel statement continued.
Robert Hough, Chairman of Peel Airports Group added: “We recognise that this will come as a great disappointment to many. The intractable problem remains the fundamental and insufficient lack of current or prospective revenue streams, together with the airport’s high operating costs. Our employees have always been DSA’s greatest asset, and we are grateful to them all, past and present, for their dedication and diligence over the years. The immediate priority remains to continue engaging closely with them over the next few weeks.”
Hough said that the company will now start a formal consultation process with staff and ensure they are “updated through every step of this next phase”.
This is a breaking story. We will update this page as further information is available.