Passenger numbers at Doncaster Airport have plummeted - while other airports in the region fly high.
The Federation of Small Businesses is calling for a public inquiry for Sheffield’s City Airport to be reopened after being unimpressed with Robin Hood Airport’s passenger figures.
According to the Civil Aviation Authority, passenger numbers nosedived to 67,072 in May - a fall of 0.7 per cent compared with the same month last year.
The number of flights taking off also dipped in May, to 420 - 3.2 per cent lower than the same month last year.
And the year-end figures for 2012 show 693,000 passengers used the airport - down 16 per cent on 2011.
But at Leeds-Bradford Airport, passenger numbers in May were up 19.6 per cent up on last year.
Passenger numbers also rose at Manchester Airport by 10.7 per cent, and by 8.9 per cent at East Midlands.
FSB regional chairman Gordon Millward said it was unsurprising numbers were down.
“Robin Hood Airport only offers flights to holiday destinations, and a number of cities in Poland and Lithuania,” he said. “No services to recognised business destinations are available.
“But even the services to holiday destinations are showing a significant annual decline.
“Despite suggestions the recession is to blame for Robin Hood’s woes, Civil Aviation Authority data indicates traffic at other airports in the region has actually risen.
“Once again we are calling for a public inquiry into the potential for Sheffield’s City Airport to be reopened, so that Sheffield can be reconnected with major European business centres.”
But Robin Hood bosses defended the position, saying the future is looking bright thanks to the forthcoming FARRRS link road, which will cut journey times from Sheffield to around 25 minutes.
Steve Gill, managing director of Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield, said the airport’s official figures demonstrate a return to growth following a challenging time for the industry.
He added: “A year-on-year comparison does show a slight drop in figures for Doncaster Sheffield Airport, but we expect to grow over the current financial year. “On a positive note May 2013 demonstrated month-on-month growth of over 4.5 per cent.
“It is an exciting time for us with the FARRRS link road development edging closer.
“We are delighted by the region’s desire for the need for business routes to support the Sheffield City Region’s companies, as this gives us a real target for growth which will be assisted greatly by the new road.”
The Chambers of Commerce also referred to the recent spate of interest in Sheffield City Airport as an ‘unwelcome distraction’.
Dan Fell, Deputy Chief Executive of Doncaster Chamber, said: “We believe Doncaster Sheffield Airport is a key asset for the north of England and that it has huge potential to deliver the goods for business and the local economy. This relates to both business travel and freight activity.”
Mr Fell said all the chambers of commerce in the city region recently published a manifesto giving their full support to Doncaster Sheffield Airport.