LONDON – A glimmer of hope is being instilled in Doncaster Sheffield Airport as a potential reopening could happen in the Spring of 2023.
The airport closed on November 5th as raising a profit for the area wasn’t possible, with the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbating that issue.
However, it has been revealed by the Mayor of South Yorkshire that a takeover deal was currently being negotiated between the Peel Group and a consortium from the UAE.
It is understood that if the deal gets approved, the airport could reopen in April or May 2023.
Mark Chadwick of the Save Doncaster Sheffield Airport group commented on this:
“We will be waiting for the investors and Peel to do a deal before we know what’s happening with the future of DSA. If all goes well and a deal is done, the airport could be open to passenger travel by April/May time.”
“If all fails, talks stop, and no purchase happens, then Doncaster Council and South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority are prepared to take this further and carry out a Compulsory Purchase Order on the airport site.”
ICYMI: The Formal Statement of Closure…
Toward the end of September, the airport effectively announced the winding down of operations.
Despite recent word of the appearance of a serious buyer for the airport, Peel Group state that “no tangible proposals have been received regarding the ownership of the airport or which address the fundamental lack of financial viability.”
The formal statement confirms the finding that a viable financial business plan to ride out the current crisis is not evident. The statement continues:
“The high fixed costs associated with running a safe, regulated airport, together with recent events materially reducing prospective future aviation income streams, mean that a break-even business plan cannot be identified for the foreseeable future.”
As a result, DSA will begin winding down the provision of aviation services during the week commencing Monday, 31 October 2022.
Peel Group say that DSA will continue to work closely with airport customers and other users to explain the impact of this service reduction and work with them to minimize the disruption to their operations and customers.
“Prospective buyer” fails to eventuate
Peel received a letter from the Mayor of South Yorkshire and the Mayor of Doncaster on Thursday, 8 September, which pointed to the appearance of a serious buyer for the airport complex.
Despite this advice, Peel Group say they have yet to receive a response to their urgent requests for details with regard to the buying consortium’s identity.
Neither have they received any advice on the terms of any proposal or evidence of the consortium’s financial standing or aviation expertise.
Looking ahead, it will be great news for UK aviation if the airport can return to some form of commercial operations by the Spring of next year.
With Summer 2023 expected to be a busy period, this could help elevate the airport out of its current woes, and restarting service in the Spring would be the best chance of doing that.