Doncaster Sheffield Airport is a “game changer” for job creation which deserves the “best crack of all”, according to the region’s business and regeneration body.
Chris Scholey, the City Region’s lead for the site, said they were taking its success “incredibly seriously,” with a host of plans to help it grow.
Already one of the organisation’s top two priorities, it was set to be boosted further under a refresh of their Strategic Economic Plan, he added.
Mr Scholey has a long history with the airport. He was managing director of Renaissance South Yorkshire when the airport received £20m from the Objective One fund in 2009.
Today, the City Region is set to give the site £2m to boost cargo - which Mr Scholey predicts will quadruple in a year. It has helped fund the Great Yorkshire Way which has slashed journey times to Sheffield, especially for lorries. It is promoting the Enterprise Zone next to the airport and is in negotiations with potential occupiers. And it has sunk money into the McLaren and Boeing deals to build factories on the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District in Rotherham, now just 20 minutes away via the new road, which are likely to attract further investment.
Mr Scholey, said his focus was always on using public funds to create jobs.
He added: “We are taking this incredibly seriously, it’s a game changer - the potential for jobs is great.
“We are spending taxpayers’ money at the end of the day. It’s about bang for your buck - and I’m going to make sure the airport gets the best crack of all.
“If we could see jobs would be created and GVA increased then Sheffield City Region would not leave the airport wanting for support.”
DSA handles 8,000 tonnes of cargo a year but could reach 32,000 “very quickly” he added.
It successfully handled cargo flights diverted from East Midlands when its runway was being resurfaced in December, further bolstering its reputation.
Mr Scholey added: “I think there’s an opportunity in the next year to quadruple cargo, its growth could be one of the fastest in the country in the next few years.
“We are good at saying the airport’s important and we need a longer term plan that all our local authorities buy into.
As we refresh our strategic economic plan we want to put a long term approach and possibly financial support in place.
“It’s only a matter of time before the airport reaches critical mass and has return flights to the States and elsewhere.”