November 29, 2022

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26th biggest airport in the UK shut down due to dwindling patronage

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Doncaster Sheffield Airport is in dire strait as its existence is grievously threatened

The management of Doncaster Sheffield Airport, DSA, in the United Kingdom, UK, has announced the terminal would soon be shut down as flights will start “winding down” from 31st October 2022, when an official closing date will be announced.

Peel Group, the consortium owner of the airport, said that it was no longer viable to operate due to a “lack of adequate forward revenues and high operating costs”.

One of the Two major domestic airlines that operate at Doncaster Sheffield Airport, Wizz Air, had pulled out. While its competitor, TUI, who is one of the largest operators of the airport, had also indicated its intention to pull out.

Wizz Air confirmed that nearly all flights from Cardiff Airport will be affected for the next six months, citing “economic pressures”.

Also, UK’s largest regional airline, Loganair, had confirmed that 300 flights will be yanked between November 2022 and March 2023.

Liz Truss, Prime Minister of Britain

Robert Hough, Chairman of Peel Group, managers of Doncaster Sheffield Airport, said: “We recognize that this (closure of the airport) will come as a great disappointment to many”.

He however gave the rationale for the seemingly harsh and hard decision which will cause over 3000 job losses that, “the intractable problem remains the fundamental and insufficient lack of current or prospective revenue streams, together with the airport’s high operating costs,” as responsible for shutting down.

Owner, Peel Group, argued that the economics simply do not stack up and that despite repeated efforts there simply are not enough airlines interested in making Doncaster a base. The critical mass of passengers isn’t there.

There is no iota of doubt that airlines are grappling with the gross lack of trained manpower since the airspace was flung opened last quarter of 2021 after the scourge of COVID-19 abated.
For example, the mega carrier, British Airways had since confirmed that not less than 10,000 flights would be cancelled from now until March 2023.

South Yorkshire’s Mayor, Oliver Coppard said he was devastated by the announcement to shut down the airport and angry about the impact the closure would have on local communities.

South Yorkshire’s Mayor, Oliver Coppard

Coppard however announced that a “big bold offer” had been made to Peel to allow the “time and space to bring in the external interest that we know is out there and get a deal done to save DSA”.

He said the offer to use “public money to subsidize Peel Group” had been made “quite reluctantly”.
The Prime Minister, Liz Truss, said she wanted to protect DSA, and so it’s now over to the government to make a robust intervention that should be able to keep the airport open, she said.

Doncaster Sheffield Airport is ranked as the 26th biggest airport in the UK with a record of 4,609 flights pre-COVID-19 pestilence in 2019.

The airport is one of the few in the UK that does not charge travellers to be dropped off, making it one of the cheapest airport car parks in the UK.

And a survey in 2017 voted the airport as the best in the UK.

While in Nigeria, well over fifty per cent of the existing airports cannot boast of half the number of annual flights recorded at Doncaster Sheffield Airport but are being heavily subsidized and are not among those listed for concession.

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