South Yorkshire Mayor puts forward deal to save Doncaster Sheffield Airport

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

The Mayor of South Yorkshire has tabled a proposal to save Doncaster Sheffield Airport (DSA) from the imminent threat of closure.

The airport's future became uncertain in July after bosses said the business "may no longer be commercially viable".

But mayor Oliver Coppard and other public officials in the county have announced that they have presented owners Peel Group with "an ambitious package of financial support".

Mr Coppard said the deal would mean the airport could "remain operational" into next year.

"We’re doing everything we possibly can to save our region’s airport," he said.

"We’ve taken the initiative, gone out to the market and brought potential investors to the table, demonstrating that there is a viable future for DSA. But it has become clear that any deal to find a new owner or operator for DSA cannot be done in weeks.

"That’s why over the past few days we have made an offer to step in with financial support for DSA.

"This is not just about giving potential investors a sensible amount of time to put their proposals together, but also about protecting more than 800 jobs and providing certainty to customers, operators and our community at Doncaster Sheffield Airport."

Mr Coppard has not published details of the package, but said it would give Peel "time and space for meaningful negotiations with credible potential investors".

"If Peel genuinely want to safeguard the future of DSA they will accept our offer and allow more time for prospective offers to develop," he said.

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 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.

Last week Peel questioned claims that a "credible consortium" could be found to take over operations.

The company has yet to comment on today's announcement, but in a tweet local MP Nick Fletcher said he had been told that an announcement would be made on Monday morning.

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