Doncaster Sheffield Airport expansion plan given heavyweight backing

The plan to connect Doncaster Sheffield Airport to the East Coast Mainline railway network has gained heavyweight support after receiving high level backing from prominent business organisations.

A plane at Doncaster Sheffield Airport

Network Rail, Transport for the North (TfN) and Welcome to Yorkshire have endorsed the plan, which would put nine million people within 90 minutes of the airport.

The Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, the International Trade Forum and chambers of commerce in Doncaster, Sheffield, Barnsley and the East Midlands have all backed the plan.

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Sir Gary Verity, chairman of the East Coast Mainline Railway board, said the organisation “strongly supports this important economic project” saying it would “enable major growth in aviation, jobs, housing, tourism and local connectivity”.

A plane at Doncaster Sheffield Airport

He added: “The new rail link has already been identified as a growth opportunity in Network Rail’s recently published East Coast Main Line Route study and the respective organisations on the ECML Railway Board have been actively involved in developing the scheme alongside Doncaster Council, Sheffield City Region and Doncaster Sheffield Airport.”

Barry White from TfN said: “Transport for the North wants to see a transformed North of England, where modern transport connections drive economic growth and support an excellent quality of life. Improved international connectivity is a vital part of this transformation and Doncaster Sheffield Airport’s Vision would see it unlock significant passenger and cargo capacity, creating a major economic cluster around the airport.”

If approved airport bosses say the move would create 73,000 new jobs and hand a £3.2bn economic boost to the region over the next two decades.