Doncaster Sheffield Airport: Mayor to announce international operator to run airport this week

Doncaster Mayor Ros Jones is expected to tell councillors this week that a well known international operator has been chosen to run Doncaster Sheffield Airport.

There’s been huge public support to reopen the airport, which closed in 2022, after owners Peel Group said it was no longer financially viable.

Mayor Jones is expected to make the announcement of the outcome of a procurement exercise at tomorrow’s full council after the list of prospective investors was whittled down from 35 to two.

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However at this stage the name of the operator, a foreign entity, will remain confidential, allowing for scrutiny by the government under the auspices of the National Security and Investment Act.

Doncaster Mayor Ros Jones is expected to make the announcement of an operator to run the airport on ThursdayDoncaster Mayor Ros Jones is expected to make the announcement of an operator to run the airport on Thursday
Doncaster Mayor Ros Jones is expected to make the announcement of an operator to run the airport on Thursday

The expectation is that freight flights could start in 2025, with passenger flights beginning in 2026.

Airline operator TUI, which made the last inbound flight into DSA on November 4 2022 is said to be “extremely keen” to return.

It comes as business leaders wrote to the newly-appointed Transport Secretary Louise Haigh asking her to use her powers to reinstate the airspace above the airport which was suspended following its closure.

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The open letter to the MP for Sheffield Heeley, from business leaders including the chief executives of three local chambers of commerce, calls for support “with the campaign to reboot Doncaster Sheffield Airport now entering the final stretch — and with victory seemingly in sight”.

Ms Haigh is urged to work with the Civil Aviation Authority, in order to reinstate the airspace above DSA to its former designation.

Doncaster Chamber said: “By protecting the airspace in this way, it will be much easier for the prospective new operator of the revamped site to get it back up-and-running without unwarranted delay.

"On the other hand, if the airspace were to lack the proper designation, then it would inevitably cause problems further on down the line and needlessly defer any economic benefit that would otherwise arise from DSA reopening its doors. When the fate of the airport was first called into question, by its owners announcing a strategic review, it naturally came as a huge blow to the region. Yet it also galvanised us into collective action.

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“Over the course of the last two years, we have seen a remarkable collaborative effort — involving various political partners, the local authority, campaigning groups, business organisations and the private sector — with everybody pulling together and showing a united “Team South Yorkshire” front."

The letter cites a recent impact study which found the airport had “untapped potential to generate upwards of £1.5bn in net benefits over the course of three decades, while also representing thousands of jobs for the area too”.

In March, the council agreed a 125-year lease of the airport site with Peel Group. Peel Airports, a division of Peel Group, reopened the former RAF Finningley site in April 2005, but bowed out in 2022, citing high costs. In its heyday the airport had 1.22m passengers and handled 23,000 tonnes of freight.