Mayor Ros Jones says Minister is 'washing hands' of Doncaster Sheffield Airport

Doncaster Sheffield AirportDoncaster Sheffield Airport
Doncaster Sheffield Airport
Doncaster’s Mayor Ros Jones has accused Transport Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan of “simply washing” her hands of trying to save Doncaster Sheffield Airport.

Ms Jones was speaking after a TV interview with the Minister, just days ahead of owners Peel Group starting to wind the airport down.

Last month Peel Group rejected an 11th hour financial package offered by the South Yorkshire Combined Mayoral Authority and Doncaster Council to underwrite their losses for 13 months "against the backdrop of an unviable, loss-making operating business".

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Tui has said their last inbound flight into DSA will take place on November 4.

Labour MPs for the region have made impassioned pleas to the Government to invoke emergency legislation in order to give more time for a buyer to be found.

Ms Jones said the only options were for Peel to reverse their decision and give time for negotiations with potential buyers, for the Government to nationalise the airport, or intervene through the use of the Civil Contingencies Act 2004.

She said a compulsory purchase order would not save the airport as it would take two years and was subject to “considerable” legal challenge,

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She called on Prime Minister Liz Truss to honour her commitment – made three times – to step in and help save DSA.

She said it would appear the government were “not interested” in working to keep the airport open, adding: “I find it such a shame that the response from the Secretary of State for Transport Anne-Marie Trevelyan is to simply wash their hands of trying to save Doncaster Sheffield Airport.

“I completely disagree with the transport secretary and Peel, DSA can and should be profitable if managed and operated correctly.

"I believe Peel have never been interested in the long term operation of DSA, and their true colours are now apparent.”

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Meanwhile Wentworth & Dearne MP John Healey has called on the Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace, to help save DSA due to the “crucial” emergency services and national security functions it hosts.

The airport provides training for the Armed Forces, including live training for the British Army's Joint Terminal Attack Controllers and rear seat Sensor Operators for the RAF's Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance Force.

DSA is home to the National Police Air Service, four fixed wing aircraft, which cover the whole of England and Wales.

The Maritime and Coastguard Service also has aircraft on call at the airport 24/7, 365 days a year for the UK Border Force, Joint Maritime Security Centre and other Government departments including patrols in the English Channel.

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Mr Healey, Shadow Secretary of State for Defence, said the airport’s closure would have consequences for national defence, security and emergency services.

He said: “At a time when threats to the UK are increasing, we should not accept the short notice closure of this airport when it is used as a base for enabling our Armed Forces to fulfil their duties to defend Britain and for enabling our emergency services to reinforce our national security.”