Airlines only interested in whether numbers add up

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Stuart Green’s ill-informed diatribe (Letters, September 13) demands a response.

Born in Yorkshire, my first airline job demanded a move south.

My 27-year airline career includes 22 years in senior posts, bringing wide experience of airline and airport operations. Mr Green’s comments suggest his experience in the industry is rather more limited; I should like to know what qualifies Mr Green to make his comments.

I do not wish to ‘damn’ or ‘condemn’ Robin Hood Airport, only to point out the realities of the situation it faces. Anyone seeking its demise (I am not one of them) should be aware that airline planning and strategy teams take no notice of exchanges of letters in newspapers.

Equally, and for the same reason, there is no point in me (or anybody else) ‘celebrating’ the airport.

Airlines are only interested in whether the numbers add up!

The facts speak for themselves. Robin Hood Airport’s traffic has been well below forecast since 2008, and the airport has always lost money.

Mr Green cannot deny these truths.

Latest figures suggest that the airport’s 2014 passenger total will be around 700,000 – about one third of the forecast in the airport ‘masterplan’.

The airport is short of its target by about 1.3 million passengers.

As an aviation professional, I’m keen to see successful, profitable airports in the UK.

But the evidence suggests that Robin Hood was a gamble which won’t pay off, and that South Yorkshire backed the wrong airport.

Unless Robin Hood’s traffic levels improve dramatically, Mr Green should brace himself for bad news.

If pushed to predict a date, probably in 2017/18.

Michael Wood

Crown Hill, Seaford, East Sussex