Labelled the new fastest growing airport, Doncaster Sheffield Airport has recently seen an increasing level of passenger growth, with over 1m passengers using the airport across the country. The CAA (The Civil Aviation Authority) have released figures that prove Doncaster Sheffield has seen a 43.1% growth in passenger numbers (1.3m) between April 2016 and March 2017.
Doncaster Airport has revealed that building a rail link at the site is a huge focus of theirs as part of their 20-year extension plan. As highlighted by Steve Gill managing director of the airport, a new rail link would significantly increase the sites’s catchment area. In the same comments, he also admitted that the plans were in an early stage while detailed proposals would be revealed later on in January. Doncaster Council who are in approval of the plans, have agreed to talk with Network Rail in 2017.
August saw a record breaking month for Robin Hood Airport with 145,000 passengers flying from the former RAF station. The great achievement is amplified by the fact that over a million people have now flown from the airport over the past 12 months, much of this credit is due to the addition of many new destinations courtesy of budget airline Flybe. Dublin and Dusseldorf are to be added from the 30th October following the successful addition of destinations such as Paris, Berlin and Amsterdam at the beginning of this year.
Without a minute to rest after opening the Great Yorkshire Way link road, Doncaster Sheffield Airport has named Welcome to Yorkshire as the official 2016 airport partner! Both of the organisations have great plans for the future of the local community and are looking to attract a higher level of leisure and tourism to the area.
Doncaster Sheffield Robin Hood Airport is excited for the future after new figures released show that their amount of passengers flying through the airport have increased by 5%.
2014 saw new routes introduced to a greater variety of destinations, and it currently has popular routes to Alicante, Warsaw, and Palma De Mallorca, with a new route to Zante being added in 2015.
As you stand in a huge queue at the check-in desk, are herded through airport security and then have to brave a scrum at the boarding gate, you may well feel that if cattle were to take to the air they would be treated better than people, and it seems that you are not alone. Never has the saying “small is beautiful” been more apposite than when it comes to airports.
Barely a week goes by without some of the larger airports hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons, especially in the height of the summer. Now research carried out by Which? Travel magazine shows that passengers are far happier with their experience at small regional airports than at the larger hubs.
Topping the poll was Southend airport with a satisfaction rating of 84%. Easyjet switched many of its Stansted flights to Southend in 2012 and, as a result, the Essex airport now handles over 700,000 passengers a year with a predicted 2 million by 2020. It is only to be hoped that it does not become a victim of its own success.
Also scoring highly in the customer satisfaction survey were other local airports such as Humberside, Robin Hood Doncaster, London City, Southampton and Blackpool, all of which scored between 74% and 81%.
The only major-league players to appear in the top 10 were Newcastle International, Birmingham Terminal 1 and London Heathrow Terminal 5, all of which scored between 66% and 69%. Whilst the relatively new Terminal 5 at Heathrow may have got a thumbs-up from its users, the older Terminals 2 and 3 only managed to score 45% and 46% respectively. Also performing badly was Luton airport with only 43%.
An important link road between Doncaster Robin Hood Airport and the M18 motorway could enter the construction phase in summer 2012, according to local newspaper, the Star. The road, better known as the Finningley and Rossington Regeneration Route Scheme, or FARRRS, is part of a larger campaign called the Gateway to Sheffield City Region (GSCR), which was recently awarded £18m from the government’s Regional Growth Fund.
“This is tremendous news for Doncaster”, explained Peter Dale, director of regeneration in Doncaster. “(The cash boost) demonstrates the confidence the government has in Doncaster to deliver such an important scheme." However, the evidence suggests otherwise: last April, Doncaster Council was described as “failing, dysfunctional, and paralysed” by the Audit Commission, and was eventually commandeered by government ministers. The £18m sum, which is double the grant traditionally awarded to successful candidates, is likely an attempt to bring Doncaster Council, and consequently, the town, back up to par with other settlements in Yorkshire.
Financial support for the FARRRS route way is, nevertheless, a huge boon for Doncaster, and for Robin Hood Airport. Proponents say that the road could create 14,000 jobs, more than half of the total expected to be created by the GSCR scheme, and inject £1bn into the local economy. FARRRS will also make the airport more accessible to travellers arriving from Sheffield and the port town of Goole.
Nigel Brewster, President of Doncaster’s Chambers of Commerce, has urged local businesses to “capitalise” on the construction of the FARRRS road, by trading with companies overseas. Mr. Brewster has implied that the arrival of new investors and – presumably – airlines would be crucial to the success of Robin Hood Airport.
The region around the airport will not be the only area in Yorkshire to benefit from the GSCR. The £18m grant will allow councillors to reclaim the land around Rossington Colliery, which closed in 2007, and construct a ‘Strategic Rail Freight Interchange’ near the airport.
Keepmoat Homes, namesake of Doncaster’s Keepmoat Stadium, has also been given £8m from the Regional Growth Fund to build, or refurbish, 1,500 homes in Hull.
Last year was one of the worst on record for the aviation industry; few months were left unblemished by chaos. Fog delayed flights, volcanoes blackened European skies, and the recession ate airlines at an unprecedented pace. Then, just as chief executives thought the worst was over, snow began to fall on roads, roofs, and naked trees, forcing closures at the vast majority of UK airports.
Edinburgh Airport, for example, was shut down 8 times in just over two months, while Southampton Airport is alleged to have lost almost a quarter (22%) of its festive passengers due to snow and ice. Doomsayers would have been justified in predicting a shaky start to 2011, but officials at Doncaster’s Robin Hood Airport have revealed that the conditions facing the aviation industry are not as dismal as expected. The Yorkshire hub achieved growth of 5% during 2010, quite a feat for an airport that has historically struggled to stay open during clement conditions.
According to Civil Aviation Authority figures, Penzance Heliport and Scatsta Airport in the Shetlands also had a productive year, increasing annual traffic by 4.1% and 3.5% respectively. Leeds, Belfast City, Liverpool, and Bristol were the only other hubs in the UK to post growth in 2010. Plymouth Airport, on the other hand, lost almost 40% of its annual traffic, as beleaguered airline, Air Southwest, announced plans to downsize its operation at the Devon hub. Cardiff, Newquay, and Durham airports have also found themselves without enough fingers to count their losses on.
Mike Morton, chief at Robin Hood Airport, said that the traffic boost, equating to an extra 43,781 people overall, was “fantastic news” for the hub. Whether Doncaster can continue its run of good luck into 2011 is debatable, but the hub’s prospects have improved drastically since the addition of new routes to Faro, Portugal, and Tenerife in the Canary Islands, courtesy of budget airline, Ryanair. The airport claims that the two flights could lure an extra 60,000 annual travellers to the former RAF base.
Robin Hood Airport handled 37,513 passengers during December 2010 and 895,136 flyers over the whole year.
Bosses at Robin Hood Airport have been granted planning permission to construct 750 new homes and a business park on the hub’s doorstep, according to South Yorkshire newspaper, The Star. The news comes after Doncaster Council identified the development as a ‘key’ site for industry at a meeting on January 11 2011.
With the property market still foundering in the recession’s roiling sea, choosing to spend a fortune on the construction of new properties might seem a foolhardy venture, especially as Robin Hood’s new project will be built within a few miles of the airport, where demand for housing is often meagre, at best. However, airport bosses are convinced that the housing scheme will force developers to invest in the controversial FARRRS (Finningley and Rossington Regeneration Route Scheme) motorway link, as the former project cannot exist without the latter.
FARRRS, linking the airport to the M18 motorway, has been delayed and underfunded for almost as long as Doncaster Airport has been open to the public. Yet, both Doncaster Council and Peel Airports, the current owner of Robin Hood, consider the FARRRS road to be a vital part of the Yorkshire airport’s future, capable of generating around £1bn in additional income. Sadly, at least for Doncaster and Peel Airports, the government is not interested in the FARRRS project:
“The government has indicated that FARRRS will not be seen as a priority in its current spending review,” explained Andy Gutherson, assistant director of planning at Doncaster Council. The young airport, together with whatever investors it can pluck from the local area, must therefore plug an estimated £11m funding shortfall in the FARRRS project with money from its own pocket. Of course, anybody with an interest in South Yorkshire aviation (a niche subject), will know that Robin Hood Airport has a history of debt problems, making direct investment unlikely at present.
Whilst airport bosses have not commented on the total cost of Robin Hood’s housing project, or how much money can be squeezed from future residents, the project is being made a “priority” by Doncaster Council, as the absence of key transport links around the airport is causing problems for local businesses. “We struggle to get people to into work here,” said councillor, Yvonne Woodcock.
However, despite the council’s enthusiasm for the scheme, many local residents have been left confused and angry. Householders have accused Doncaster Council of "overriding" its promise to protect the rural environment, by setting a “precedent” for the construction of buildings on valuable green belt land. Equally, nearby schools, already over-subscribed with children, could face serious problems if subjected to an influx of new pupils.
On the flip side, the FARRRS road and the housing development could create thousands of new jobs, and make Doncaster Airport a target for foreign investors. There is a “real appetite” among business leaders to work with the South Yorkshire hub, according to Peel Airports’ Peter Nears.
and Robin Hood Airport, Doncaster, have been doing a brisk trade in ‘pet passports’ according to local newspaper The Star.
The airport was visited by almost 100 furry passengers in 2010, with Paphos in Cyprus proving to be the most popular holiday destination for domestic pets flying from South Yorkshire.
Robin Hood’s pet passport scheme is operated by Anglo European Express, a cargo firm based on the airport grounds. The company has a license to transport dogs, cats and ferrets that have been verified as disease-free by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, otherwise known as DEFRA.
Pets can travel to the UK’s closest neighbours – Spain, France, Italy, Germany and even Greenland – or somewhere exotic, such as Australia, Bahrain or the island nation of Vanuatu in the South Pacific.
Whilst Rover and Tiddles might not appreciate the difference between a moonlit stroll down the Avenue des Champs-Élysées in Paris and a jaunt down a cracked pavement in the centre of Doncaster, the pet passport scheme helps take the heartache out of leaving a beloved family pet in kennels or, even worse, with the in-laws.
Thomson Airways claims that more than 1,600 animals were transported from six UK airports in 2010, including the 100 or so that departed from Robin Hood. The most common species of traveller was, of course, the dog, with 1,147 carried. Parrots, hawks, lemurs and nature’s slugabed, the tortoise, were also booked onto flights to Europe and beyond.
Despite the apparent popularity of pet passports, the scheme is likely to have limited appeal to holidaymakers, given the added expense of purchasing the license and the difficulty of finding pet-friendly hotels abroad. However, emigrating Brits and those lucky few with properties in warmer climes will pounce on the opportunity to throw a ball for their own disinterested feline on a white sandy beach.
For more information about pet passports, visit the Heathrow Airport Guidesl Pet Travel Guide.