Doncaster Sheffield Airport: Owner claims there have been no takeover offers for months

The company which owns Doncaster Sheffield Airport says it has not been approached by an investor interested in a takeover for four months but “remains open” to talks.

The Peel Group closed the airport, which employed around 800 people, in November, claiming it had never made a profit due to a lack of passengers.

South Yorkshire Mayor Oliver Coppard had urged the company to reconsider and he set up meetings with investors interested in a takeover, but no deal was reached.

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In a letter sent to Mark Chadwick, head of the campaign group Save Doncaster Sheffield Airport, the Department of Transport said the company is “engaging with” investors and “we strongly encourage it to consider any credible offers”.

Doncaster Sheffield Airport was closed last yearDoncaster Sheffield Airport was closed last year
Doncaster Sheffield Airport was closed last year

But a spokeswoman for The Peel Group said it has not been approached by investors who are interested in reopening Doncaster Sheffield Airport (DSA) since November.

She said: “The Peel Group remains open to all discussions with potential investors and where introductions to interested parties have been made, Peel has engaged in an open and constructive fashion.

“There are currently no live discussions with potential commercial investors and Peel is not in receipt of any offers for the airport operating company or the airport site.

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“The only interested party to date which put forward a proposal to acquire the airport operating company, withdrew from discussions in November 2022 after The Peel Group accepted an offer in principle subject to proof of identity and funds.

“The Peel Group is committed to achieving the best possible outcome for Doncaster and South Yorkshire.”

She added: “We continue to engage with senior South Yorkshire stakeholders and government to discuss the available opportunities in the absence of a viable aviation solution.”

The Peel Group previously has said and it is exploring plans to turn the site into a science and technology park.

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According to the company, the airport has “never achieved the critical mass required to become profitable”, despite £250m of investment.

The passenger shortage was exacerbated by Wizz Air’s decision to stop running flights and the Covid-19 pandemic.

DSA handled a record 1.4m passengers in the last pre-pandemic year, 2019, but just 403,869 passengers used the airport in the 12 months ending in March 2022.

It also recorded an operating loss of £4.3m in that financial year, according to accounts filed with Companies House.

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After DSA was closed to passengers in November, Doncaster Council announced it is pursuing a compulsory purchase order for the site.

The council also applied for a judicial review into the decision to shut the airport, claiming the owners had not left time for a buyer to make a realistic offer, but the application was refused in December.

The Civil Aviation Authority is due to decide whether DSA's controlled airspace should be closed in the coming months.