CAMPAIGNERS calling for Sheffield City Airport to be reopened have won the backing from Labour MP Paul Blomfield.
The South Yorkshire Federation of Small Businesses are calling for planned redevelopment of the runway as a business park to be put on hold and a public inquiry held into whether the airport could be viable.
Mr Blomfield, Sheffield Central MP, has written to Gordon Millward, FSB regional chairman, saying he believes there ‘does remain a role for a city airport in Sheffield’ and that Robin Hood Airport, at Finningley, near Doncaster, ‘is not a business airport’.
Mr Blomfield said: “I share your concern that once the site is redeveloped as a business park there will be no opportunity to ever reopen it.
“For that reason, I think an independent public inquiry would be worthwhile in order to once and for all assess the commercial viability of Sheffield City Airport and explore any outstanding concerns relating to the history and past use of the airport.
“To reopen the airport would require significant private investment and I believe it would be useful for an inquiry to make an independent assessment of the level of investment required.”
“Although I support the principle of a Sheffield City Airport, I have yet to be convinced there is a business case for reopening it as such, but I do believe it is worthy of an evaluation.”
Mr Blomfield said an inquiry would need to consider issues including the impact of the new high speed rail network on the business case for the airport, plus the environmental impact.
Further support for the FSB’s campaign to consider reopening the airport has come from James Kilford, chief executive of UK General Aviation, which represents pilots of small and private aircraft.
He said: “It is unthinkable that the UK’s fourth largest city should not have a presence on the aviation map.”