Sheffield City Airport: Doncaster Sheffield Airport closure warning sparks bitter memories
and live on Freeview channel 276
Owner Peel Group has warned ‘aviation activity may no longer be commercially viable’. Other options for the site include manufacturing, warehousing and logistics, it said.
For many, this had echoes of a similar situation in Sheffield, including Paul Blomfield MP, who warned against a switch to ‘more profitable warehousing’.
In 2002 Peel Group bought struggling Sheffield City Airport from Sheffield City Council for just £1. Flights stopped the same year and it is now part of Sheffield Business Park.
Controversy surrounds whether the firm - which had bought Finningley three years earlier - had any incentive to promote the airport.
Responding to the announcement Doncaster Sheffield Airport could close, Paul Blomfield, MP for Sheffield Central, said it was a ‘re-run’ of the approach Peel took to managing Sheffield City Airport.
He added: “We must do everything possible to press Peel to honour their obligations to run an airport on this site and not switch to more profitable warehousing.
“If they refuse, there will be questions to answer regarding their good faith when seeking public investment in developing the site as an airport and they must repay the considerable public funds that have benefited from.”
Peel claims to have invested £250m into Doncaster Sheffield Airport. The amount of public money is unclear.
Passenger flights from Sheffield City Airport launched in February 1998.
In the early days there were three daily flights to Amsterdam, weekend hops to Jersey, an air taxi service to London City and flights to Belfast and Dublin.
The occasional celebrity touched down including the Queen, Prince Charles and then-Prime Minister Tony Blair.
But the world changed. Budget flights, the 9/11 terrorist attack and the possibility of an airport with a proper runway at Finningley were gathering pace.
Sheffield’s runway was just too short, which meant no low cost operator could use it.
The controversy following its closure went on for a long time - and included an attempt to revive it in 2012.
But today the former Sheffield City Airport is home to factories, research centres and offices - could DSA go the same way?