Loaded with cases and bags, excited holiday makers made their way through the doors of DSA to check-in for the anticipated start of their sun-filled destination.
As they made their way from the carpark under the gloomy, overcast sky, there is a very real prospect of them never flying from Doncaster ever again.
Despite the grey cloud hanging over the airport’s future, the terminal bustled with people heading to Burgas in Bulgaria and the Spanish resort of Alicante.
It would be hard to imagine how this isn’t a commercially viable site.
With the threat of 800 jobs at risk, staff members who greeted passengers as they arrived did so with a beaming smile. You’d have never thought anything was amiss.
But in short, DSA needs more airlines flying in and out. It’s no secret that Covid-19 has hammered the travel industry, but that appetite to travel is well and truly back.
How keen owners Peel were to try and source new airline destinations is a question that needs answering. They need to answer other questions on how we got to this point but these are for another time.
I don’t know anyone who has flown from DSA that’s had a bad word to say about it. Many have said they’ve parked up outside, waltz through check-in and have been sitting in the Wetherspoons within 30 minutes with a cold pint.
You don’t get that at Leeds/Bradford I can assure you.
With other airports’ capping capacity, DSA could’ve stepped in. One passenger smoking a cigarette before checking in was saddened at the news of DSA’s potential closure.
“It’s a massive shame. I usually fly from Manchester because there’s more destinations but this is my second time from Doncaster and the whole thing is much smoother,” they said.
The cold hard fact is, all the power is in Peel’s hands. If they wanted to sell the site to Joe Bloggs to build Doncaster’s version of Meadowhall, no one could really stop them.
It’s also true Mayor Oliver Coppard could buy the airport as did his Teesside counterpart in 2018.
But another cold hard fact is Peel could hold SYMCA to ransom with a humongous asking price. Again, they can’t be forced to sell to anyone in particular.
Throwing huge public money at this is a risk. Teesside International is losing money. A private operator could be the way to go but would they be interested at the moment?
Right now, the market is still on the resurgence and with little airlines flying from the site, a new private operator would be very busy in securing more from day one.
Despite being voted the UK’s number one airport for passengers on numerous occasions, DSA could take off from Finningley forever.