Politicians urge Peel Group to reverse decision to close Doncaster Sheffield Airport

Doncaster Sheffield Airport
The airport will begin "winding down" from 31 October this year. Credit: Nick Fletcher

Bosses at Doncaster Sheffield Airport (DSA) have been told it is "not too late" to save the site from closure.

Owners Peel Group announced on Monday, 26 September, that flights would begin "winding down" from 31 October because the business was no longer viable.

The airport is thought to employ more than 800 people, with a further 2,700 jobs affected in the supply chain.

South Yorkshire's Mayor Oliver Coppard said: "I’m devastated by today’s announcement by Peel and angry about the impact it will have on our communities.

"Most importantly, there are hundreds of people across Doncaster and South Yorkshire who will now be frightened for their future."

Mr Coppard had previously announced an offer to support the airport for the next 13 months to give the Peel Group a chance to negotiate with potential buyers.

He added: "For years, we have been investing public money in and around DSA to support the airport, including providing emergency funding through the pandemic.

"The fact that Peel chose to turn our offer down simply confirms what many of us suspected: that Peel was never serious about finding an alternative and safeguarding the future of DSA.

"It is still not too late for them to do the right thing; for them to reconsider their decision for the sake of those employees, businesses and communities directly impacted by this appalling decision."

Doncaster Mayor Ros Jones added: "I am absolutely dismayed and disappointed by Peel’s announcement today."Peel’s decision and their wholly reluctant approach throughout the last 10 weeks has been completely uncompromising and unreasonable.

"It is now clear that Peel was never seriously interested in looking at the opportunities offered to them which have been developed at pace and in good faith, preferring to close the airport and seek to develop the land for other uses which could generate greater commercial value for them and their shareholders."

The two mayors had previously said a "credible consortium" was interested in taking over the airport, but Peel said it had received no evidence to support the claim.

Louise Haigh, Labour MP for Sheffield Heeley and Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, condemned the company's decision.

She said: "This is incredibly disappointing news given all the financial and political support Peel have received from the South Yorkshire Mayor to keep the airport open.

"They really are a disgraceful operator that will now do significant harm to South Yorkshire's economy."

Sarah Barnes, of the GMB Union, said: "Peel Group’s decision to close, despite the offer of help, is a narrow minded failure by fat cat bosses to see the big picture. 

"The airports closure will be a devastating blow to workers, their families and the wider community.

"DSA is absolutely vital to the South Yorkshire economy, providing hundreds of direct and supply chain jobs as well as an international transport hub. 

"It’s hard to think of a better use of public money than keeping it open until a buyer can be found."

Following her appointment as prime minister earlier this month, Liz Truss said she was working to "protect" the airport.

Mr Coppard has now called on the government to intervene.

A spokesperson for the Department for Transport said: "The decision taken to close Doncaster Sheffield Airport by its owners is incredibly disappointing, not only for the passengers who use the airport, but also the businesses and staff based there.

"We strongly encourage local leaders and Peel Group to work together and find a solution for the site which will benefit local people and the region’s economy."

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know.