Third runway at Heathrow, or use Robin Hood better?

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Tim Hale of Sheffield Chamber (Star business news, July 30) is right in saying that “it would be an appalling dereliction of opportunity” if Doncaster Airport is not greatly expanded for both freight and passengers.

The airport was opened in 2005 and officially titled Doncaster-Sheffield Airport (call sign DSA), also called Robin Hood. It will be easier to reach the airport next year when the link road from M18, J3 is complete. Drive-times from most places will be significantly reduced and from central Sheffield will take around 25 minutes. Few cities in the world can match such convenience for a main airport, including London with a usual drive-time of well over an hour from Westminster to Heathrow and not much less by underground.

Already popular for package holidays and flights to eastern European cities, Doncaster-Sheffield has flown eight million passengers since inception. Clearly, more flights and destinations are needed, which easier access should encourage. However, there is often no obvious logic to routes operating from one airport but not another. Flights to Amsterdam-Schiphol Airport, a route that would be of great benefit to businessmen and others in the Sheffield City Region, have eluded DSA for years, but daily flights operate to that airport from both Humberside and Durham-Tees, both small and serving regions with far lower populations than the wider Sheffield City Region.

Tim Hale also says: “Expansion of Heathrow is a crazy idea as it will further concentrate resources in the south. Doncaster Airport has an enormous runway, and room for massive expansion of freight and passengers.”

Exactly so. Above all, what is needed is the political will of the UK Government, plus that of regional MPs and MEPs, to focus resources on expansion of regional airports.

Stuart Green