Doncaster Sheffield Airport owners reiterate that it 'cannot continue in its current form' and admit 800 jobs are at risk

Don Valley MP Nick Fletcher has said recent correspondence with the owner of Doncaster Sheffield Airport was ‘not positive’.

John Whittaker, the chairman of Peel Group, did agree the consultation period - currently at six weeks - may be extended but added the airport is ‘not financially viable’ and ‘should not continue in its current form’.

Fletcher said it was the first time he had heard from the chief airport boss since Peel Group announced it could end commercial operations at the Finningley site due to a lack of financial viability.

The withdrawal of Wizz Air and the Covid-19 pandemic were the main reasons given in a statement earlier this month.

Doncaster Sheffield Airport

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TUI is the only named operator now flying out of the airport and 800 direct jobs are at risk with more in the supply chain.

The Conservative MP, whose constituency covers the airport, said he will respond to Mr Whittaker and ask if he is willing to sell the site to another private operator and if closure ‘was always the end goal’ for Peel.

In a statement on social media, Fletcher also said Mayor Coppard could follow Tees Valley’s lead to buy the airport from Peel as the region’s mayor Ben Houchan did in 2019 following similar closure threats from the company.

But he admitted that despite this being an option, Peel couldn’t be forced to sell.

Recent communications between South Yorkshire mayor Oliver Coppard, Doncaster Council and Peel heard the owners ‘made a commitment’ that they will ‘not simply abandon the site’.

Mr Fletcher said: “I finally heard from John Whittaker. He’s the Chairman of Peel Group. I wrote to him and Oliver Coppard last week.

“I am afraid the letter from John Whittaker was not positive. He has agreed that the consultation period may be extended if needed but he went on to say that the airport is not financially viable and therefore should not continue in its current form.

“This is most disappointing, especially when Doncaster Sheffield Airport has so many advantages over other airports which are profitable and viable.

“I will be writing back to Mr Whittaker to press the point over 77,000 of you have made, that ‘we want to save our airport.’ I have a lot of questions for him.”