MP NICK Fletcher and regional mayor Oliver Coppard clash over future of Doncaster Sheffield Airport

MP NICK Fletcher is calling on South Yorkshire’s Mayor to “step up” the fight to save Doncaster Sheffield Airport from closure.

The Don Valley MP claims Oliver Coppard “has a duty” along with the powers and the funds to solve the issue.

Mr Fletcher is also placing pressure on Peel Group (the airport owners) chairman John Whittaker, and claims he has “still not been seen at any meeting” with South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority.

Peel Group announced earlier this month that a strategic review is currently underway to decide if aviation activity is “commercially viable” at the site.

The group has included factors such as the pandemic, passenger numbers and airline drop-outs as crucial factors for the review.

The MP is even calling on billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson to help and claims he has written him a letter.

But Mr Fletcher wants to see Mr Coppard take accountability in his role as Mayor of SYMCA.

He said: “Mayor Oliver Coppard is continuing the blame game he has from the start regarding government help.

“This is an issue between a private company and a devolved combined authority.

“So the pressure on Peel needs continuing but I’m afraid it also does on SYMCA as if they want these devolved powers then they should use them.

“So I call on Oliver Coppard to stop asking Government to do something when Government gave him the powers he asked for.”

Mayor Coppard (pictured left) responded by venting his anger at the government’s “lack of interest” in helping to save the airport.

He said: “I have tried repeatedly to engage Grant Shapps and the Department for Transport, yet they are utterly disinterested in taking any responsibility for 800 people’s jobs and the economic hit to South Yorkshire.

“I will do everything I can to keep the airport operating, whether I’m formally responsible or not, but the government must urgently engage with us as a partner and work with us to make sure we are able to do just that.

“As much as they want to hide, if they are not willing to be part of the solution they are part of the problem.”

Mr Coppard also announced that Peel will not be abandoning the site as discussions continue to save the airport and maintain a “commercially viable airport”.

Mayor of Doncaster Ros Jones confirmed “positive and productive” discussions were ongoing with Peel about the future of the airport with a “united approach” to keeping it open.

She added: “Work will now be undertaken at pace to develop all workable options for the airport operations and site that benefits the wider region.

“All options are on the table to secure both the short and long-term future of Doncaster Sheffield Airport.”

Over 75,000 have signed a petition to save DSA from closure so far.

You can add your name to the petition here: https://tinyurl.com/2p85th3z