Trade unionist slams Government over potential DSA closure, accusing them of leaving regional airports to struggle

A trade union has accused the Government of ‘bailing out airlines like BA but leaving regional airports to struggle,’ following the shock announcement that Doncaster Sheffield Airport could close permanently.

Thursday, 14th July 2022, 8:11 pm

Bosses at Doncaster Sheffield Airport (DSA) announced through a statement yesterday that they had ‘reluctantly concluded that aviation activity on the site may no longer be commercially viable’ and could close if an upcoming six-week ‘strategic review’ finds the runway is no longer worth the money.

The statement continued: “DSA’s owner, the Peel Group, as the Airport’s principal funder, has reviewed the conclusions of the Board of DSA and commissioned external independent advice in order to evaluate and test the conclusions drawn, which concurs with the Board’s initial findings.

Speaking tonight (Thursday, July 14), Sarah Barnes, GMB Organiser, said: said news of the potential closure had come as a ‘deep shock’ to the community and workers at DSA, where GMB has sole recognition.

Bosses at Doncaster Sheffield Airport (DSA) announced through a statement yesterday that they had ‘reluctantly concluded that aviation activity on the site may no longer be commercially viable’ and could close if an upcoming six-week ‘strategic review’ finds the runway is no longer worth the money

She added: “In the middle of a cost-of-living crisis the last thing our members and neighbouring communities need is uncertainty about their jobs and futures.

“During the pandemic we met with the Government to secure an economic package for aviation which would save regional airports.

“Ministers continue to bailout airlines like BA - who’ve slashed workers’ pay using fire and rehire - but leave regional airports to struggle.”

Around 20,000 people have signed petitions opposing the airport’s closure in the 36 hours since the announcement was made, one of which has been launched by the GMB, has collected almost 10,000 signatures and can be viewed here.

News of the potential closure comes after budget airline Wizz Air announced it was cancelling all flights from DSA, which saw its first commercial flight in 2005, leaving it with only one base carrier, namely TUI.

South Yorkshire mayor, Oliver Coppard, said the Peel Group had been ‘in discussion’ with political leaders for a £20 million loan, prior to yesterday’s announcement being made.

Mayor Coppard said he was now seeking an ‘urgent meeting’ with Peel Group bosses and would be speaking to ministers in order to save it from closure.

“It’s disappointing that Peel does not seem willing to match our ambition for DSA and have not been able to unlock the evident potential of an airport with a prospective customer base of millions,” he said.