Doncaster Sheffield Airport chief outlines bold plan for expansion

12 ec 2016....Steve Gill, MD of Doncaster Sheffield airport. Picture Scott Merrylees
12 ec 2016....Steve Gill, MD of Doncaster Sheffield airport. Picture Scott Merrylees
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Doncaster Sheffield Airport is targeting the handling of an ambitious 8m passengers a year by 2037.

And, he added that he saw excellent synergy between the airport and burgeoning Advanced Manufacturing and Research Centre (AMRC) near Rotherham, saying that the two institutions could act like “bookends that eventually meet in the middle”.

The airport will launch early next year documents outlining its plans for expansion and growth, with a short-term goal of doubling passengers within the next five years.

Speaking to The Yorkshire Post, Mr Gill said: “This is still the newest full-service airport open in the UK. This has not happened since the days of Stanstead, so we are still relatively young in terms of our development.

“We faced a recession which knocked us back a little bit but we are past that now and growing with roughly 80 per cent growth in passenger numbers over the last three years.

“We are looking to at least double passenger numbers over the next five years and do believe that is absolutely deliverable.”

Doncaster Sheffield Airport.

Doncaster Sheffield Airport.

He added that the vast size of the airport itself offered boundless opportunities for its future growth prospects.

“It is trying to portray what we can be if we are looked at in a slightly different way,” he said.

“The airport itself takes up about 800 acres but the site in totality is about 1,600 acres.

“The makeup of what we are looking to develop within a land holding of that size is passenger development, cargo development, business aviation, maintenance aviation, business parks, logistics and then finally a base of residential infrastructure.

Artists impression of an East Coast mainline station at Doncaster Sheffield Airport

Artists impression of an East Coast mainline station at Doncaster Sheffield Airport

“The key difference with the vision plan is the development of an East Coast Mainline station within the airport site. It would result in one in every four trains coming through the airport.”

Mr Gill pointed toward Department for Transport data which showed the likely need for increased capacity at the UK’s airports to grow hugely over the next couple of years.

The airport bos said: “From the north of London you could be here quicker than you could get to Gatwick or Heathrow. You are using transport infrastructure which is going against the flow and is quicker because there is more capacity.

We try to be grown up when it comes to catchment area and not look at areas which are owned by Leeds, or Manchester East Midlands. We try to grow and map out our own unique catchment area and we still believe there are six million people within our own unique one hour catchment area.”

Doncaster Sheffield Airport

Doncaster Sheffield Airport

Talking about the AMRC he said: “They have fantastic global brands and they are running out of land down there.

“So if they want to continue this successful development, we have got plenty. And the type of industry and links to aviation and engineering fit extremely well and we have developed a really good relationships with the universities and the AMRC and see it as a really opportunity to link the two.

“They could be bookends that eventually meet in the middle.”