Sheffield retro: 24 fascinating photos looking back at Sheffield City Airport, which was sold for £1

As hopes grow that Doncaster Sheffield Airport could be saved, it’s time to look back at its ill-fated predecessor, Sheffield City Airport.

There were lofty ambitions for the airport when it finally opened in Tinsley, just off the Parkway, in 1997 – some three decades after plans for the city to get its own airport were first mooted. Things took off so promisingly, with Aer Arann, KLM UK, Sabena and British Airways flying to Belfast, Amsterdam, Brussels, Dublin, Jersey and London.

Passenger numbers soared in the early days, reaching 75,000 in 1999, before dropping off sharply to 60,000 the following year and 13,000 by 2002. The airport became a victim of the boom in low-cost travel, with no room to expand its short runway, measuring just 1,211 metres long, to accommodate larger jets operated by the budget airlines.

Sheffield City Airport eventually closed in 2008 after reporting losses of more than £1 million, and it was famously sold for just £1. Efforts by a small group of campaigners to revive the airport failed in 2013, despite more than 5,500 people signing a petition for it to reopen.

Today the site is home to Sheffield Business Park, where the aviation giant Boeing has a factory, and the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre. The old terminal building and air control tower have been converted into offices, the airport fire station is an industrial unit and the old helipads are part of the car park, but the former hangars still have the old signage in place and some of the markings on the old runway remain visible.

This retro photo gallery, featuring images from The Star's archives and from Picture Sheffield, shows how the airport used to look.

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