Doncaster Sheffield Airport today announced that Flybe, Europe’s largest regional airline, will base two Embraer Jet aircraft at the airport with services starting from the end of March 2016.
This milestone announcement, the biggest of its kind since the airport opened its doors in 2005, will see passenger numbers soar with an additional 500,000 seats on offer from the Yorkshire Airport.
Flybe said the aircraft will be flying to key cities and regional centres across mainland Europe.
Doncaster Sheffield Airport said it is already the fastest growing airport in the UK outside London and will now benefit from Flybe delivering up to 44 new flight departures per week, a 70 per cent increase in departures.
The news comes just months before the airport becomes significantly more accessible for passengers living within the Sheffield City Region, when journey times to the airport are reduced by 20 minutes following the opening of the £58 million motorway link road (FARRRS).
Investment in the road has been delivered through both public and private sector funding and is set to open in early 2016, ahead of the new Flybe services commencing.
Steve Gill, managing director of Doncaster Sheffield Airport, said; “This announcement is transformational for Sheffield City Region’s airport. We are truly delighted to be welcoming Flybe in this new long-term deal.
“A total of eight routes will be announced on November 10 serving a mixture of business and leisure destinations to mainland Europe and beyond.
“The additional seats and other forecasted growth are expected to take passenger figures from 900,000 in 2015/16 to over 1.35m in 2016/17, an increase of around 50 per cent year on year.”
Saad Hammad, chief executive of Flybe said: “We are delighted to have reached this agreement to begin enhancing connectivity for the people of Yorkshire from Doncaster Sheffield Airport.
“We look forward to welcoming all our new passengers on board next year with great value fares and a convenient, fast, reliable service to some very popular destinations as well providing them with opportunities for onward connections.”
James Newman, chairman of the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, said; “We are a city region of 2.1m people and Sheffield is the UK’s fourth largest city. Connectivity to major European centres for trade and investment play a crucial role in the economic prosperity of the region.
“Investments such as this one will help to strongly position the Sheffield City Region as a key player in the Northern Powerhouse and will enable us to start to rebalance the UK economy through significant growth in the North.”
Last month Doncaster Sheffield Airport’s parent company, the Peel Group, announced its strong support for the Northern Powerhouse with a letter to Government urging public and private sector partners to work together.
The call was for fresh dialogue between business, Government and other northern-based partners. The group have invested £150m developing the airport and more recently a further £12m contribution towards the infrastructure project to build the new link road to the airport.
Mayor of Doncaster Ros Jones said; “This exciting development will create up to 60 direct jobs and many more indirectly.
“It was always anticipated that the FARRRS link road would make Doncaster Sheffield Airport a more attractive offering to airlines and we are delighted that this has already been realised.
“The new Flybe services will boost the number of passengers flying in and out of the region when the new road opens and that can only be good news for the local economy.”
Flybe has now redeployed all its remaining surplus Embraer E195 aircraft.