Reopening of Doncaster Sheffield Airport will be boost for Yorkshire's economy: Matt Cheshire

Doncaster Sheffield Airport closed its doors just over a year ago. Since then there has been much talk about bringing it back and recently the local council agreed on a rescue plan.

I hope it goes ahead as there are many benefits to reopening the airport at Doncaster.

Formerly Robin Hood Airport, Doncaster Sheffield Airport closed at the end of 2022 after a strategic review by owner Peel Group deemed its operations unviable.

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However, earlier this month Doncaster Council’s cabinet approved an outline business case that details plans to re-open the airport. The business case will be submitted to the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority to seek funding to assist in the re-opening process. The council has also worked to find an investor to lease the site from Peel over several years.

Matt Cheshire shares his thoughtsMatt Cheshire shares his thoughts
Matt Cheshire shares his thoughts

This all sounds very positive and I’m hopeful it will go ahead. Not only will it benefit my business but Yorkshire as a whole. I run Aviation Needs, a Yorkshire company providing private jets and helicopters for people who want personal bespoke service.

I’m from Yorkshire, I live near York and most of my business is from Leeds Bradford Airport however, I can still see the benefits of re-opening an airport that’s much further south.

I know in Leeds there is a vociferous local movement of residents local to the airport who have issues with the environmental impact and would prefer Doncaster to be reopened and see Leeds Bradford air traffic reduced or removed. I must say however that I’m not in the camp of getting rid of Leeds Bradford Airport. I believe there is space in Yorkshire for several airports and that Doncaster should be re-opened alongside keeping Leeds.

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The more airports in Yorkshire that are opened, the better. We started using Leeds East Airport commercially this year and offering it to passengers who would otherwise fly from Doncaster. We’ve also been using Humberside more and East Midlands has picked up some flights too.

What we’ve found is that sustainability is actually better as the ground time is less because people don’t have to travel great distances by car or bus to get to another airport.

In recent times, we’ve lost exports from the area such as Sheffield Steel and I believe the loss of the airport must have played a part as logistics became increasingly complex.

Freight can’t land at Leeds Bradford Airport because the runway is too short and due to its location, Leeds Airport struggles in bad weather (I’m sure we can all think of times we were stuck on a plane at Leeds due to wind or snow.)

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With Doncaster no longer functioning, I suspect East Midlands is picking up the freight air traffic. That means, it’s not in Yorkshire.

The money in our county is in construction, metal and steel but to keep supporting our economy, we need to have good infrastructure.

Yorkshire’s economy is booming and we could do with Doncaster Airport back. So if the deal goes ahead, it would benefit us all as a whole.

Matt Cheshire runs The Needs Group

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