Peel Group questions claims of consortium to take over Doncaster Sheffield Airport

 Doncaster Sheffield Airport lit up in colour
Doncaster Sheffield Airport Credit:

Bosses at Doncaster Sheffield Airport (DSA) have questioned claims that a "credible consortium" could be in place to take over operations.

The future of the airport was thrown into doubt after owners Peel Group said in July that it may no longer be a viable business. A consultation process was launched over DSA's future.

Mayor of South Yorkshire Oliver Coppard and the Doncaster mayor Ros Jones have contacted the company to say a study had identified the airport's economic benefit to the region and a consortium had expressed an interest in operating the site.

They want Peel Group to commit to operating the airport for "several months" so that officials can "meaningfully undertake due diligence and continue negotiations".

Mr Coppard said: "Since Peel announced the review into DSA our biggest fear was that they were running down the clock while undermining confidence in the airport."So we launched our own search for potential operators and investors in the site, and we’ve found a strong and credible proposition which requires serious consideration. This is no guarantee but it is a significant step forward."

In response, Peel Group issued a statement saying that the mayors' report “provides no solution to the [airport's] lack of financial viability".

It added: "We requested details of the identity of the consortium, but this has not been forthcoming, nor have the terms of any proposal or evidence of the consortium’s financial standing or aviation expertise."

The company said it would “carefully consider this expression of interest as soon as we receive the necessary detail".

Peel Group announced on 13 July that it would launch a consultation over the airport's future after business was hit by the coronavirus pandemic, a shortfall in passenger numbers and the departure of operator Wizz Air. Tui is now the sole carrier using the base.

It said, despite growth in passenger numbers, DSA had "never achieved the critical mass required to become profitable".

The announcement has led to protests, a petition signed by more than 100,000 people and a number of public meetings.

In her first Prime Minister's Questions, Liz Truss pledged action to "protect" the airport.

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