Mayor accuses owners of undermining confidence in Doncaster Sheffield Airport

Mayor Oliver Coppard says he is "increasingly concerned"

The mayor of South Yorkshire has accused Doncaster Sheffield Airport's owners of undermining confidence in the site as a "pretence for its closure".

Earlier in the week, owners Peel Group extended the consultation period on the airport's future, which is at risk because of fears it may not be financially viable.

Mayor Oliver Coppard has hit out at the company's owners, saying they "remain unclear about their intentions" for the airport.

In a statement Mr Coppard said: "As the owners of the airport, it is their responsibility to make clear the options they would be prepared to consider – including whether they would be prepared to explore options for the airport’s sale, a question we have asked them repeatedly – and allow a reasonable period of time for those options to be explored.

"I am increasingly concerned they are now seeking to undermine confidence in the airport as a pretence for its closure, limiting commercial interest in a possible sale, all with a view to forcing a change of use and attempting to open up the site to commercial land development."

Airport bosses have blamed a combination of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and a shortfall in passengers numbers for the airport's position.

The situation was made worse by the announcement in June that operator Wizz Air was quitting the airport.

TUI is now the sole carrier serving Doncaster Sheffield, after WizzAir quit the airport earlier this year

On Tuesday (23 August), the Peel Group said it was extending the consultation - which was originally due to last six weeks - to 16 September.

But it has resisted calls to extend it until the end of the year.

In a statement the company said: "To continue the uncertainty by prolonging the Strategic Review until the end of 2022 as requested without any tangible proposals to consider would be unsustainable for colleagues employed at the airport and untenable for our business partners, airlines and passengers."

ITV News has contacted the Peel Group for a response to the mayor's comments.