History of Doncaster Sheffield Airport

Doncaster Sheffield Airport:

  • The UK’s newest airport
  • Passengers: 1.3 million in 2017
  • Over 50 destinations
  • Population base of 6.2 million people within a 60 min drive.
  • Largest operating airline at DSA: Wizz Air (over 500,000 passengers in 2017)
Doncaster Sheffield Airport history

So how did it all begin?

In 1981 Reg Ward, the Chief Executive of the newly formed London Docklands Development Corporation (LDDC) discussed the idea of an airport for Docklands with Sir Philip Beck (Chairman of John Mowlem & Co plc).

Robin Hood airport started life as an RAF base (RAF Finningley) in 1936, and played an integral role during the First World War and the Cold War as a command base for bombers on the front line, and a training centre for pilots and navigators.

The 2891 metre long runway (one of the longest runways in the north of England) was resurfaced in 1989, and the airport retained its military use until 1995 when it was declared surplus to requirements by the Ministry of Defence, leading to the airport flag being lowered in 1996.

When many in the area thought that this was it for the airport, Peel Holdings PLC (who also own Liverpool John Lennon, Durham Tees Valley and Sheffield airports) bought the site in 1999, with a plan to turn it into a commercial airport.

The first commercial flight left the site in April 2005, and 1.3 million passengers were projected for its opening year, including freight, long-haul, charter, scheduled, and business flights.

It is expected that passenger numbers will increase when the commercial airport is more established.