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Doncaster-Sheffield Airport vote set to free £138m towards reopening

Doncaster-Sheffield Airport is expected to take a major step towards reopening later this week, with a vote to release £138m of public money to fund it.

The site closed in November 2022 after its owners said it was too costly.

South Yorkshire Combined Authority's board is due to vote on Tuesday on releasing the cash, which is Doncaster's share of devolution funds.

Oliver Coppard, South Yorkshire's Mayor, said it would "absolutely" be a good use of public money.

If members of the combined authority's board vote to make the money available to City of Doncaster Council, the authority is expected to lease the airport site from owners Peel Group.

It would then appoint a specialist airport operator to run the business.

Asked by BBC Look North if funding Doncaster-Sheffield Airport's reopening was a good use of public cash, Mr Coppard said: "Yes, it is absolutely. It's not just about the airport, it's about the whole of that sector.

"If we're going to grow the economy, then we have to invest in those things we are good at and sustainable aviation and advanced manufacturing are at the forefront of our strengths.

"They're how we can build a sustainable economy," he added.

According to an Outline Business Case by Doncaster Council, reopening Doncaster-Sheffield Airport could prove to be an anchor for other aviation-related industries and create up to 5,000 direct and 6,000 indirect jobs.

Doncaster Mayor Ros Jones said saving and reopening the airport was her "number one priority".

"I am pleased to say lease negotiations continue to progress positively and I'm confident we can agree a deal, but we are not over the line yet. We are following our carefully managed plan," she said.

The release of the £138m towards the reopening of the airport was "yet another step in the right direction for us to see planes flying again from our airport", Ms Jones added.

Peel Group, which also owns John Lennon Airport in Liverpool, confirmed that negotiations with Doncaster Council about a possible lease arrangement were continuing.

Louise Congdon, an expert on airport economics at the York Aviation consultancy, warned that while re-opening Doncaster-Sheffield Airport might create good employment opportunities, Doncaster Council should "not expect any money back".

"The market is focusing on bigger airports where airlines can make more money," she said.

"To get airlines to use marginal airports like Doncaster, you have to pay them large sums to get them to operate.

"In those circumstances, it's unlikely a smaller airport like Doncaster would be able to cover its operating costs."

City of Doncaster Council said it hoped to agree a lease with Peel Group and appoint an operator later this year, but there was currently no reopening date set for the airport.


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