Doncaster Sheffield Airport: Travel expert calls for 'sense of proportion' after Wizz Air cancels flights

A travel expert has called for a ‘sense of proportion’ after Wizz Air cancelled flights at Doncaster Sheffield Airport.

Peter Kennan said the airline was still running the majority of Eastern European routes and TUI had four aircraft based there. It also has freight operations, there is ‘continuing work’ to open a rail link off the East Coast Mainline into the site, and the terminal is being improved, he added.

The Free Press reported in March that the airport had applied to borrow £20m from the South Yorkshire mayor’s office to finance capital projects.

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But Mr Kennan, private sector co-chair of the Transport and Environment Board at South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority, admitted Wizz Air’s decision to cancel flights was ‘undoubtedly a blow for South Yorkshire and the development of our regional airport’.

Earlier this month, the Hungarian airline cancelled 13 routes to holiday hotspots in a row over its commercial agreement with the airport.

But DSA bosses claimed services had been sacrificed to support Wizz Air routes at other UK airports.

Mr Kennan said: “We also must keep a sense of proportion. TUI has introduced long haul flights from DSA. TUI has planes based at DSA and I believe a fifth has been used this week.

Peter Kennan.

“Wizz Air has not pulled out of DSA. The majority of the Eastern European routes are continuing at the moment.

“Plus, do not forget the continuing work to try to open a rail link to Gateway East with DSA at its heart and the DSA terminal developments which are presently underway.”

He added: “I hope there will be an opportunity for South Yorkshire business to talk to the senior management of Wizz Air at some point.

“At South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority LEP, I am ready to do that alongside other business representative organisations. This latest development is undoubtedly a blow for South Yorkshire and the development of our regional airport.

“A successful city region needs a successful regional airport with flights to hubs in Europe and through ticketing to worldwide destinations.

“I make no apology for reminding anyone who will listen of the importance of the proposed rail link to DSA and of attracting a hub carrier.

“We need to encourage investment in DSA as part of our transport infrastructure to help drive inward investment and to deliver more productivity and growth for the benefit of everyone in South Yorkshire.”

Affected routes will include flights to Lanzarote, Malaga, Alicante, Fuerteventura, Larnaca, Palma de Mallorca, Tenerife, Dalaman, Faro, Kosice, Gran Canaria, Riga and Lublin, although some of these will be winter schedule flights only.

Unaffected flights include flights from Cluj, Gdansk, Krakow, Katowice, Otopeni, Poznan, Vilnius, Warsaw and Wroclaw to Doncaster Sheffield Airport.

Wizz Air said the cancellations were ‘a result of Doncaster Sheffield Airport indicating that it is unable to guarantee the terms of its commercial agreement with Wizz Air’.

Neither Wizz nor DSA has clarified what the terms of the commercial agreement are. Passengers say they have been left in the dark and facing disruption to their holiday plans.

The Free Press approached DSA and owner Peel Group for comment.