‘Region needs air service’

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Sheffield City Airport’s short-lived career as a destination for scheduled flights and its comparatively low passenger numbers have failed to discourage the mystery bidder seeking to 
re-open it.

The bidder would not say whether any scheduled airlines had been approached or expressed an interest in flying out of a revived Sheffield City Airport but said the airport would have the capacity to provide scheduled services where demand dictated.

“We understand the need to examine the market and determine where the profitable routes are to be found,” said the mystery bidder.

“We will be doing that to create an offer that both meets the needs of local travellers and is marketable to the airlines.

Passenger numbers at Sheffield City Airport peaked at 75,000 in 1999 and had fallen to 33,000 by 2001, while Robin Hood hit the 1 million mark before the recession, although numbers have fallen back, reaching 820,000 last year, and are likely to be lower this year.

But, for the mystery bidder, passenger numbers from a dozen years ago are “a commercial irrelevance”.

“The fact is we have a developing city region, an enterprise zone on the doorstep, a local economy which is increasingly based on high technology, high skills and high value-added products and a business environment where the biggest opportunities are in global markets,” argues the mystery bidder.

“Air travel in this region is in a sharp decline, while passenger numbers in other regions are increasing steadily. This is a sign of a failing regional economy, due in large part to the fact that South Yorkshire is ‘off the beaten track’ in aviation terms. We need urgently to restore services to major UK cities and European capitals,” the mystery bidder adds.