Why is Doncaster Sheffield Airport closing and when does it shut for good?

Doncaster Sheffield Airport
The airport never achieved a 'critical mass' of passengers, its owners said. Credit: Nick Fletcher

Flights from Doncaster Sheffield Airport are being wound down after the owners said the business was no longer viable.

Despite a campaign by politicians, the South Yorkshire metro mayor Oliver Coppard and residents, Peel Group is pressing ahead with plans to close the airport following a strategic review.

Operators Tui and Wizz Air have already started shifting scheduled services to Leeds Bradford Airport.

The airport's operations will gradually be phased out in the coming days.

When is the final flight and when will the airport close?

Airport staff shared an emotional video as Tui's final passenger flight – to Tenerife – left the airport on Friday evening, 28 October.

Wizz Air's final flights, to Eastern Europe, took off on 30 October.

From 30 October to 4 November, Tui services will be passenger arrivals only. 

The company's last inbound service will be a flight from Hurghada, Egypt, arriving at 9.15pm on Friday, 4 November. 

The final commercial service will be the Tui "positioning flight" to Manchester – for passengers catching a plane on to another destination – at 12.15am on 5 November. 

According to the GMB union, the terminal and will remain available for passenger services until 7am on the same day, after which the airport will close.

Why is the airport closing?

DSA opened in 2005 after it was converted by the Peel Group from the old RAF Finningley airbase.

At its peak it processed more than a million passengers a year, flying to 50 destinations.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, DSA was voted the UK's best airport by Which? magazine three years in a row.

In a statement in July Peel Group said that DSA had never achieved a "critical mass" of passengers to become profitable and this "fundamental issue of a shortfall in passenger numbers" was exacerbated by the announcement Wizz Air would no longer use it as a permanent base.

Wizz Air announced it was leaving the airport in June. Credit: PA

The firm said the "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".

In September, chairman of Peel Airports Group Robert Hough said: "The intractable problem remains the fundamental and insufficient lack of current or prospective revenue streams, together with the airport’s high operating costs."

The company rejected an offer of public money to keep the airport running for another year to allow time for a buyer to be found, saying it would only "postpone the inevitable".

The closure affects around 800 workers directly and hundreds more in the supply chain.

Sarah Barnes, of the GMB union, said: "When the final flight leaves on Bonfire Night, hundreds if not thousands of people will see their future go up in smoke.  

"GMB members are furious, the people of South Yorkshire can’t allow it to happen."

What are your rights if you have flights booked for a later date?

Tui said affected customers would be contacted in departure date order "to outline their alternatives and options".

They would be offered options including moving to another holiday or cancellation and full refund, the company said.

In a later statement, the operator said it would support customers by increasing capacity from surrounding airports, including East Midlands, Leeds Bradford and Manchester. 

New services will fly from Leeds Bradford Airport to destinations including Dalaman, Antalya and Dubrovnik from summer 2023.

Richard Sofer, Tui's commercial and business development director said: "With the unfortunate closure of Doncaster Sheffield Airport, we know these customers will still want access to a great variety of holiday destinations, so it’s exciting to be able to offer this from other surrounding airports."

What are your rights if your flight is cancelled?

Under UK law, if your flight is cancelled, your airline must let you choose between a refund and an alternative flight, no matter how far in advance of the scheduled departure date the cancellation was made.

You are entitled to a refund for any unused part of the ticket. For example, if you booked a return flight and the outbound leg is cancelled, you can get the full cost of the return ticket refunded.

If you still want to travel, your airline must find you an alternative flight. If another airline is flying to your destination significantly sooner, or there are other suitable modes of transport available, then you have a right to be booked onto that alternative transport instead.

What if you booked a package holiday?

If you booked a package holiday with a company that is a member of the professional body Abta and your flight is cancelled, you are entitled to a suitable alternative flight or a full refund.

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