#FLYDSA: Ambitious Doncaster Sheffield Airport reaches for the sky

Doncaster Sheffield Airport could be the new home of the Red Arrows - as the fast growing site shoots for the sky.

Tuesday, 19th September 2017, 2:58 pm
Updated Wednesday, 27th September 2017, 10:52 am
The Red Arrows take off during Scampton Airshow at the Red Arrows home base RAF Scampton in Lincoln. Photo Danny Lawson/PA Wire

It is understood the legendary display team’s base at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire, could close temporarily or permanently in coming years.

And if it does, ambitious airport bosses would bid to land them.

Steve Gill, DSA chief executive.

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The Finningley site was established as an RAF base in 1915. It is home to the now retired Vulcan nuclear bomber. And tens of thousands used to attend Finningley air shows to see displays by planes including Concorde - and the Red Arrows.

Chris Harcombe, aviation development director, said: “If there’s a chance, we will go for it.

“They are part of the national identity, we would love to have them here.

“The message is, we are actively going after every opportunity - we want to use the site to deliver the most jobs and best economic benefit.”

Doncaster Sheffield Airport is the fastest growing in the country - up 35 per cent on last year - and is flying high after its best ever summer. Some 650,030 people used it between April and August.

It was also buoyed by being shortlisted in an audacious bid to land a private jet maintenance contract with a global firm. It would have created 1,000 jobs - and many more in the supply chain.

As part of the bid, it teamed up with Sheffield University’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre on a plan for a training centre at the airport to provide a ready supply of skilled staff.

Chris said: “The company was impressed and although we missed out, our aspiration remains the same - to go for major opportunities.”

Steve Gill, DSA chief executive.

DSA already has several private jets a day as bosses, VIPs, celebrities and even royalty fly in and out.

But as well as ‘high net worth individuals’ it is also targeting the biggest names in the business, pitching to Easyjet, Ryan Air, Jet2 and Monarch.

The site currently hosts eight airlines flying more than 40 routes and 1.25m passengers-a-year.

It is also bidding for work from Heathrow connected with its anticipated third runway. The London airport is set to offer ‘off-site’ manufacturing contracts and DSA hopes to base the work on surrounding land earmarked for business, called Aero Centre Yorkshire.

Steve Gill, chief executive of DSA, said: “The passenger figures are fantastic. This is recognition that our holidays and low cost flights are meeting the needs of region.

“DSA is still in its infancy there’s much more come.”

Foremost is the East Coast Mainline project, which would see a £200m loop off the mainline to a station at DSA. It would mean 12m people were an hour-and-a-half’s travel time away. The airport owns most of the land, there are few obstacles and no demolition would be required, it is claimed. And it could be done faster and for a lot less than HS2.