£138m step towards re-opening Doncaster-Sheffield Airport

HOPE FOR FUTURE: Doncaster-Sheffield AirportHOPE FOR FUTURE: Doncaster-Sheffield Airport
HOPE FOR FUTURE: Doncaster-Sheffield Airport
THE RE-OPENING of Doncaster-Sheffield Airport is at the centre of a new ten-year plan to drive economic growth

South Yorkshire Mayor Oliver Coppard announced the region would take a major step towards securing a future for the airport (DSA) subject to plans being agreed next week.

A meeting of the Mayoral Combined Authority (MCA) Board on February 13 will determine whether a £138m investment scheme to unlock potential for a “South Yorkshire Airport City and Gateway East Development” will go ahead.

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Fifteen months since DSA was closed by owners Peel Group, the mayor, City of Doncaster Council and the MCA have been working to find a way to re-open it that is legally and financially sound and protects the taxpayer.

Last summer, the MCA awarded City of Doncaster Council £3.1 million to prepare an outline business case to take control of the airport through a leasing arrangement, re-establish operations under a new business model and use it as an anchor for growth to support economic regeneration and benefits to the city and region as a whole.

City of Doncaster Council will have £138 million made available by the MCA via Gainshare to support economic ambitions and pursue the jobs, growth and opportunity needed.

The business case is built on creating a sustainable airport hub based on aviation-related advanced manufacturing, advanced engineering and the growing jet-zero and decarbonisation industries.

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Linking the return of aviation to the UK’s first Investment Zone with a focus on advance manufacturing “could present significant opportunities for businesses and communities in Doncaster and the wider region, helping address long term challenges in productivity, worklessness and low wages, and poor life outcomes that hold South Yorkshire back”, the MCA says.

The MCA Board is being asked to approve the recommendation to work up a full business case and ten-year plan which could be completed as soon as spring 2024.

Mr Coppard said: “These proposals represent a major step towards re-opening our airport and delivering a ten-year plan for South Yorkshire Airport City at Gateway East; not only re-opening our airport but creating an internationally significant, sustainable aviation and advanced manufacturing hub in Doncaster.

“This is part of our plan for growth across our whole region, delivering long term benefits for Doncaster and the whole of South Yorkshire, with a thriving regional airport at its heart.

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“Getting to this point has not been easy. I’ve always said reopening our airport would take time and huge amounts of hard work.

“But the plans we are putting forward at next week’s MCA meeting are a significant step in the process of reopening DSA.

“No ambitious plan is without risks, but alongside the other leaders in South Yorkshire, I believe the economic case is compelling.

“That cannot mean a blank cheque or a bad deal, so we are rightly following a process that is underpinned by robust governance. We’ve seen in other parts of the country what can go wrong if we don't put transparency, accountability and the interests of taxpayers at the forefront of our thinking.

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“I'm determined to get a good deal for our community, to do this work properly no matter the hurdles, so we can deliver a long-term plan for our airport and South Yorkshire Airport City. That’s exactly what this next step allows us to do.”

Doncaster Mayor Ros Jones said: “Our airport represents incredible opportunities for Doncaster and South Yorkshire.

“I never wanted our airport to close, it did not have to be this way, as a council we did all within our power, including offering to purchase the airport from the current landowners which was rejected.

“We are following our carefully managed plan; this is yet another step in the right direction for us to see planes flying again from our airport.”