I would comment on an article appearing in The Star’s January Business Review supplement entitled ‘Robin Hood Airport flying high’.
Do facts and reality support this ‘flying high’ claim? Well, not according to official figures published by the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA)
Last year passenger figures for Doncaster’s Robin Hood airport decreased by 6.2% to just over 800,000, which is the lowest ever full year figure in the airport’s history. Numbers in fact plummeted by nearly 25% since the ‘heyday’ of 2007 in which more than a million passengers used it.
Furthermore, CAA figures paint a quite different picture to that suggested in the article of competing airports that they have ‘seen business decline’.
Leeds Bradford Airport has seen an increase in passengers of 6.8%, up to nearly 3,000,000. East Midlands Airport has seen an increase of 2.4%, up to more than 4,000,000 and Manchester Airport an increase of 6.5%, up to nearly 19,000,000 passengers.
Across all UK airports, passenger numbers have increased by 4.1%.
Another interesting fact from the CAA is that London’s City Airport, one of the UK’s fastest growing airports, handled 2.9m passengers in 2011.
This is quite amazing bearing in mind that the owners of Sheffield’s Airport, which has the same length runway and facilities, told us that the runway was too short and they couldn’t make it work; much to the detriment of the city of Sheffield.
The Business Review article is factual in one respect however, insofar as since the closure of Sheffield’s own airport, which was built to support and encourage the business community and the regeneration of the Lower Don Valley, the business traveller has not been well served at all in South Yorkshire by Robin Hood.
A study of these independent facts leads one to believe that the owners of Doncaster airport are attempting to put a positive spin on what must be a very disconcerting state of affairs for its stakeholders.