Government refuses to bail out Doncaster Sheffield Airport

By Neal Baldwin
Home » Government refuses to bail out Doncaster Sheffield Airport

Aviation Minister Robert Courts has said the Government has no intention of stepping in to guarantee the future of Doncaster Sheffield Airport.

Instead, he has urged the local council – the South Yorkshire Combined Authority (SYCA) – to put together a partnership of local and national businesses to save the threatened hub. And he said SYCA could even consider taking a stake in the venture itself, following a model already used by Manchester, Birmingham, London Luton and Teesside International airports.

In a letter to South Yorkshire Mayor Oliver Coppard, Courts wrote that while the Government had a long-term plan for aviation, that did not include running airports

“I would strongly encourage you to assemble a coalition of willing partners, both locally and nationally, to work with airline and aviation partners as well as local MPs, councillors and other local stakeholders to explore options for a continued, strong aviation future for the airport,” he wrote.

Doncaster Sheffield’s owner, the Peel Group, has begun a strategic review of the airport’s future after deciding it may not be commercially viable.

Although passenger numbers have been growing, the airport has struggled to make a profit and was hammered by COVID. It was further hit in June when Wizz Air said it would be withdrawing operations, leaving TUI as the airport’s sole base carrier.

For his part, Coppard has called a huge public meeting in Doncaster for tomorrow night (Thursday), which is expected to attract hundreds.

Politicians, members of the public, unions and workers have all united in anger at the potential airport closure, with Doncaster Mayor Ros Jones and Doncaster MPs Nick Fletcher (Conservative, Don Valley) and Labour’s Dame Rosie Winterton (Doncaster Central) and Ed Miliband (Doncaster North) leading the fight. A petition to save the airport already has 90,000 signatures.

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