South Yorkshire leaders agreed to ‘continue talking’ with Peel Group to keep Doncaster Sheffield Airport open

South Yorkshire Mayor Oliver Coppard said local leaders have agreed to set up a joint working group to find a solution to Doncaster Sheffield Airport's potential closure.

Wednesday, 20th July 2022, 7:59 pm

Mr Coppard said that at a meeting on Wednesday, July 20 with Peel Group representatives, it was decided to continue discussions with the goal of maintaining a commercial airport at the site.

Peel announced on July 13 that they were considering closing the airport due to it not being financially viable.

Also present at the 80-minute meeting was Don Valley MP Nick Fletcher and Doncaster Mayor Ros Jones.

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Doncaster Sheffield Airport is at risk of being shut following a strategic review by its owners Peel Group

Mr Coppard however expressed his disappointment over Peel's 'unwillingness' to make substantive changes to their position, and to accept the need for an extension to their review despite pressure.

In a series of tweets, he said: "I have to admit I was disappointed by Peel’s unwillingness to make substantive changes to their position, and to accept the need for an extension to their review, despite being pressed by me and all of Doncaster MPs."

He also said he was disappointed that Transport secretary Grant Shapps did not join the meeting or send a Department for Transport representative despite repeated calls for local leaders for the government to intervene.

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He said: "I was also sorry that @grantshapps didn’t join the meeting or send a DFT representative, but we will continue to press the government to get involved and work with us to keep the airport open.

"However, all options remain on the table, and we will now establish a joint working group to explore solutions, options and a way forward.

"I can only hope Peel - and the government - will enter into those negotiations in good faith and with the best interests of the SY community at the forefront of their mind."

Mr Coppard previously said that the political leaders in South Yorkshire would ‘find private sector operator’ if the owners do not work with them.

But Mr Shapps said the South Yorkshire mayor could follow in the footsteps of his Teeside counterpart by taking the at-risk airport into public ownership.

He referred to Ben Houchen, the Conservative Mayor of Tees Valley, who took over Teeside Airport from Peel Group in 2019 and turned it around.