The board of Doncaster Sheffield Airport (DSA) in the UK has begun a review of strategic options for the airport after it concluded that aviation activity on the site may no longer be commercially viable.
The Peel Group, the airport owner, had commissioned external independent advice to evaluate and test the conclusions drawn, which concurred with the board’s initial findings.
Since the Peel Group acquired the airport 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.
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 has been exacerbated by the announcement on June 10, 2022, of the unilateral withdrawal of the Wizz Air based aircraft, leaving the airport with TUI as the only base carrier. The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and other increasingly important environmental considerations have also been named as factors.
DSA and the Peel Group will now initiate a consultation and engagement program with stakeholders on the future of the site and how best to maximize and capitalize on future economic growth opportunities for Doncaster and the wider Sheffield City Region.
Robert Hough, chairman of Peel Airports Group, 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.”