Doncaster Sheffield Airport responds to claims that coronavirus puts regional airports 'at risk' of closure
Bosses at Doncaster Sheffield Airport have responded to claims made by aviation experts this week that regional airports could be forced to close due to loss of business during the coronavirus pandemic.
Independent aviation analyst Martin Evans this week suggested that the grounding of 90 per cent of flights could prove to be a blow from which airports – in particular regional ones – fail to recover.
"Now is the start of the period when they should be getting maximum revenue,” he said. “If things return to normal by winter, that's the point they are at their quietest.
"There is a risk that we could see airports close. That could mean an airport company folds but that the buildings and facilities are still there and someone else would take over, but there is a risk at the moment."
In response to these claims, Robert Hough CBE, Chairman of Doncaster Sheffield Airport (DSA), has issued a message of reassurance to those hoping to use South Yorkshire’s airport in the future.
He said: “Passenger numbers have fallen dramatically at all UK airports and the industry is working collectively with local and national government to seek financial support for airports which by their nature have heavy recurring costs.
“Extraordinary key workers on our team are keeping our airspace and runway open and operational for freight, which is busier than ever as we manage large volumes of medical supplies, equipment and important foodstuffs, whilst following strict government guidelines on social distancing.
“The Department of Health and Social Care is now operating a drive-through coronavirus testing facility for front line NHS staff on one of the airport car parks.
“We are providing safe haven and parking for aircraft that are currently grounded and working with government on the aviation industry’s ‘restart and recovery’ plans.
“Doncaster Sheffield Airport has faced sector-wide challenges in the past alongside the rest of the industry however no challenge has been of the magnitude that we are seeing at this present time. Our commitment to the delivery of our future vision is unwavering.
“The path to recovery will no doubt be slow and painful. However it is a matter of time before airlines are taking flight once again.”