Doncaster Sheffield Airport Strategic Review Announcement

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Forums4airports discusses the latest press release from Doncaster Sheffield airport where the airport questions the future of the airport. The owners of the airport, the Peel Group have announced they are looking at their options as the group has decided the airport is no longer viable as an operational airport. Here's the press release:

"The Board of Doncaster Sheffield Airport (DSA) has begun a review of strategic options for the Airport. This review follows lengthy deliberations by the Board of DSA which has reluctantly concluded that aviation activity on the site may no longer be commercially viable.

DSA’s owner, the Peel Group, as the Airport’s principal funder, has reviewed the conclusions of the Board of DSA and commissioned external independent advice in order to evaluate and test the conclusions drawn, which concurs with the Board’s initial findings.

Since the Peel Group acquired the Airport site in 1999 and converted it into an international commercial airport, which opened in 2005, significant amounts have been invested in the terminal, the airfield and its operations, both in relation to the original conversion and subsequently to improve the facilities and infrastructure on offer to create an award winning airport.

However, despite growth in passenger numbers, DSA has never achieved the critical mass required to become profitable and this fundamental issue of a shortfall in passenger numbers is exacerbated by the announcement on 10 June 2022 of the unilateral withdrawal of the Wizz Air based aircraft, leaving the Airport with only one base carrier, namely TUI.

This challenge has been increased by other changes in the aviation market, the well-publicised impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and increasingly important environmental considerations. It has therefore been concluded that aviation activity may no longer be the use for the site which delivers the maximum economic and environmental benefit to the region. Against this backdrop, DSA and the Peel Group, will initiate a consultation and engagement programme with stakeholders on the future of the site and how best to maximise and capitalise on future economic growth opportunities for Doncaster and the wider Sheffield City Region.

The wider Peel Group is already delivering significant development and business opportunities on its adjoining GatewayEast development including the recent deal for over 400,000 sq ft logistics and advanced manufacturing development on site, creating hundreds of new jobs and delivering further economic investment in the region.

Robert Hough, Chairman of Peel Airports Group, which includes Doncaster Sheffield Airport, said: “It is a critical time for aviation globally. Despite pandemic related travel restrictions slowly drawing to a close, we are still facing ongoing obstacles and dynamic long-term threats to the future of the aviation industry. The actions by Wizz to sacrifice its base at Doncaster to shore up its business opportunities at other bases in the South of England are a significant blow for the Airport.

Now is the right time to review how DSA can best create future growth opportunities for Doncaster and for South Yorkshire. The Peel Group remains committed to delivering economic growth, job opportunities and prosperity for Doncaster and the wider region.”


DSA and the Peel Group pride themselves on being forward-thinking whilst prioritising the welfare of staff and customers alike. As such, no further public comments will be made whilst they undertake this engagement period with all stakeholders.
During the Strategic Review, the Airport will operate as normal. Therefore passengers who are due to travel to the airport, please arrive and check in as normal. If there are any disruptions with your flight, you will be contacted by your airline in good time.
For all press enquiries, please contact Charlotte Leach at [email protected]."

"Not great news for DSA or the region"

Should the government or local council foot the bill and provide a financial subsidy to keep the airport open, thoughts...?
 
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Very sad news! My fear is that it will become a housing development with retail/industrial units attached. With no growth as an airport in the foreseeable future, Peel are probably going to look for the quickest way to recoup their investment. Also, how will it affect Vulcan XH558?

Kevin
 
With 20 flights a month or so on average don't think so the sad thing is Peel have been able to build and close two airports now along with trying to destroy another one to get there own way it's a bizarre way of doing business.
Which airports are those? Is Blackpool one? I haven’t been keeping tabs on Peel’s activities.
 
Without DSA gaining much more market share, and that would be from other existing NE airports, its going to struggle. There are a lot of airports in the area LBA,MME,NCL,HUY,DSA , you can add in EMA as its just down the M1. Too many airports for the area maybe.
Always was the case DSA didn't need building but was anyway. Your lucky they've run Liverpool properly Carl DSA never stood a chance.
Which airports are those? Is Blackpool one? I haven’t been keeping tabs on Peel’s activities.
Sheffield City they did the same as they are going too at DSA and make it into what they want as for Teeside the mayor stepped in and bought it off them.
 
With 20 flights a month or so on average don't think so the sad thing is Peel have been able to build and close two airports now along with trying to destroy another one to get there own way it's a bizarre way of doing business.
I'm afraid that this was inevitable at some stage. I've said all along that Peel are property developers and that is their only real interest. They bought Sheffield airport, closed it and converted it to some kind of business park in no time at all. They bought MME and all the land that went with it and did nothing to enhance the airport side of the business finally selling it back to the local authorities after it withered and almost died under their stewardship. Sad really.

Now that the truth of the matter is clear insomuch as nothing has worked for them, except fleecing whoever was prepared to be fleeced for infrastructure grants surrounding the airport which enhanced the value of the land and access to it. The truth is that, as John Prescott said when approving the airport, "there is no need for an airport here but it will eventually do the local economy some good", or words to that effect. He wasn't talking about locals using the airport or airlines being able to make a go of it at DSA or else the airport would not be in the position it is in today. Peel seem as though they may well come out of it okay though due to the large amount of land within the airport boundary and the new roads around linking the airport to the
adjacent motorway network. Just a shame they couldn't persuade whoever to divert the main railway line and link it to the airport. I guess they are thinking to themselves "well can't win 'em all".
 
Hopefully they can find a buyer to take the airport on.
Seems unlikely given £170m lost since opening and another £45m loss forecast in the next five years. Peel will want the market value of the land and given the demand for industrial and warehousing units the price will be high. Which local authority can afford that on an airport that has never once avoided an annual loss? Which local authority can afford the ongoing huge costs of running an airport with no certainty that they will attract new airlines, let alone keep them.
 
Meanwhile LBA gets a new terminal rejected and therefore could not accommodate TUI if they wanted to come and transfer the operations. I hope it survives but this doesn't look good. Manchester will be the re-treat for TUI. Or shared between Manchester and East Midlands.
 
Its ironic really as an RAF base it was one of 2 bases originally to be closed and confirmed by Nicholas Soammes MP to the House of Commons in March, 1995. The other base mentioned in that statement was RAF Scampton. Both of these bases where ex Vulcan bases although RAF Scampton did not close and went into care and maintenance before reopening a few years later. RAF Scampton is to close this year as an RAF base and so by the looks of it both airfields will be closing at the same time.
 
Isn’t it worth remembering at this stage that it was being considered and that they haven’t said they’re closing the airport?

The airport say operations remain operating as usual.

Even if DSA was to close this doesn’t mean nearby airports will benefit from it.
 
Isn’t it worth remembering at this stage that it was being considered and that they haven’t said they’re closing the airport?

The airport say operations remain operating as usual.

Even if DSA was to close this doesn’t mean nearby airports will benefit from it.
I think it’s important to look at other evidence from the last couple of months. Long serving Senior management inexplicably leaving, followed a few weeks later by Wizzair U.K. citing ‘suggestions that the airport would be unable to satisfy their agreement’.. Peel Group are closing the airport, whether they are open to offers from any other interested party remains to be seen, but they will be expecting value of the property NOT the value of the airport (which I believe will be in the negative to £millions). Much like MME (itself bought back by the local authority for £40million after selling to Peel for £500,000, I envisage Doncaster would probably be valued to at least £100million), to save the airport would require a huge amount of capital and many years of subsidy. Can this cost to the public be justified for what is in essence an airport with no USP which serves only holiday customers?

TUI may or may not decide to transfer their flight to other local airports. The freight traffic will be absorbed by EMA. The other aviation businesses on site - Aeros, 2Excel and the flying clubs - there is space for them at other airfields. Eastern Group at HUY would I’m sure welcome them with open arms, but there are other options too.
 
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