October 6, 2022 2.45 pm This story is over 18 months old

Government “passing the buck” on Doncaster airport closure, union says

Hundreds of jobs at risk in the region

By Local Democracy Reporter

One of the country’s largest trade unions has accused the Transport Secretary of “burying her head in the sand” over the fall of Doncaster Sheffield Airport.

Robin Hood airport has been a convenient space to fly from for Lincolnshire’s holiday-goers since the Peel Group opened the site as an international commercial airport in 2005 – but that will soon be brought to an end.

The owners announced that flights would “wind down” from the site by October 31, with the airport’s only remaining base carrier, TUI, confirming its final flight from Doncaster Sheffield will take place on November 4.

TUI airline prepares for take off.

The closure comes after the Peel Group opened a consultation into the airport’s future purpose, as bosses argued it “never achieved the critical mass required to become profitable” – concluding that DSA was “not viable due to its lack of adequate forward revenues and high operating costs.”

An offer of public funds was made to the airport to cover operating losses until the end of October next year, when it was hoped a new owner could be found, but the Peel Group rejected this and called it an “inappropriate way to spend public money”.

The writing looked to be on the wall for the airport once airline Wizz Air announced it would move resources from Doncaster Sheffield Airport elsewhere in the south of the UK, leaving the site with just TUI offering flights.

Recently appointed Secretary of State for Transport, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, has faced criticism from the GMB Union for her handling of the situation.

GMB says the Transport Secretary has not yet replied to an urgent letter sent by South Yorkshire politicians, calling for her and the government to step in and save the airport from this fate.

| Photo: DSA

Sarah Barnes, GMB Organiser, said: “The airport’s owners, Peel Group, have confirmed they will be winding down operations at the end of the month, despite the offer of public cash to keep it open until a buyer is found.

“The Transport Secretary appears to be burying her head in the sand or passing the buck.

“GMB is now calling on the Prime Minister, Liz Truss, to take action and meet with us and the Peel Group as a matter of urgency.

“This closure is senseless, especially when Peel Group have been thrown a lifeline.

“Hundreds of jobs are at stake here and the PM has the power to stop this – she must keep her word – and not make another U-turn.”

During Prime Minister Liz Truss’ first PMQ’s as Conservative leader, she was asked about the looming closure of DSA, and pledged that the government will “make sure we do protect this airport” – though it would appear closure proved unavoidable.

The Lincolnite has contacted Anne-Marie Trevelyan for a response to these accusations.