Vlogger’s video on doomed Sheffield airport that lost over £1 million goes viral

A popular vlogger’s fascinating video about the doomed Sheffield City Airport has gone viral, racking up more than 200,000 views.

Friday, 25th June 2021, 11:36 am

The short-lived international airport opened in 1997 but the last scheduled flight took off just five years later and it officially closed in 2008 after reporting losses of more than £1 million.

Today the site in Tinsley, beside the M1, is a business park, with the old terminal building and air control tower converted into offices.

Noel Philips, an aviation vlogger with more than 1.3 million followers, visited the site to see what remains and give his own take on the ill-fated project’s history.

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Sheffield City Airport is today a business park after the site was sold for just £1
Sheffield City Airport is today a business park after the site was sold for just £1

His seven-minute video has been viewed more than 200,000 times in a few days and generated more than 300 comments from fellow aviation enthusiasts.

In it, he describes how there had been plans for an airport in Sheffield since the late 60s and after finally opening it was served by the likes of KLM and British Airways, with more than 75,000 passengers passing through in 1999.

Despite a promising start, investment soon stalled, with the owners never installing radar facilities and the short runway with little room for expansion limiting the number of aircraft which could fly there just as the low-cost flight revolution took off.

Sheffield City Airport, which was open for just 11 years

“If you come here to Sheffield City Airport today all you will be met with really is a bit of wasteland, an industrial estate and that’s about it,” explains Mr Philips.

“But if you look a little bit closer there are still signs of what was once here.”

The video features drone footage showing how most of the old runway is now just a strip of overgrown wasteland but a small part remains with the original markings still visible.

The airport fire station is today an industrial unit, the old helipads are part of the car park and the former hangars still have the old signage in place. A Boeing factory is located at the business park in what the vlogger says feels like a ‘really strange piece of bitter irony’.

“Seeing this once busy airport now used as offices feels like a real shame,” says Mr Philips.

“Somehow the fact that so much of the airport remains as a reminder makes it even sadder to see.”

After it closed, the airport was sold for just £1 to be converted into an industrial estate.

Today the city is served by Doncaster Sheffield Airport, which opened in 2005 and in 2019, before the pandemic hit, handled 1.4 million passengers.

Despite Sheffield City Airport’s lack of success, a small group of campaigners pushed for it to be reopened and in 2013, more than 5,500 people signed a petition for the site to be put back into use, but it was not to be.

In his video, Mr Philips concludes that Sheffield City Airport was ‘the right idea, but at the wrong time’.

“The airport opened just as the low-cost revolution was getting started in the UK,” he says.

“The niche business operators that could operate from Sheffield were fast going out of fashion, and the airport was far too small and penned in by the surrounding area to allow for any expansion that would allow low-cost operators such as Ryanair or Wizz Air to fly from here.”