Doncaster Sheffield airport unveils ‘ambitious’ expansion plan

An ambitious multi-million pound plan to expand Doncaster Sheffield airport with trains connecting the terminal to the East Coast Mainline have been put forward.

The scheme suggests passenger numbers would almost quadruple from the 1.25 million handled in 2016 to 4.7 million by 2037 and 11.8 million by 2050.

The airport, which currently serves 45 destinations, would see its terminal double in size.

Airport owner Peel Airports projects more than 70,000 new jobs being created with addition plans including the building of thousands of new homes, plus shops, a hotel and leisure complex, bringing a £238 million tourism boost to the South Yorkshire region.

A key element is the addition of an airport rail station connected to the East Coast Mainline.

Requiring only seven miles of new track, it could be open in just five years’ time, according to the plans.

The station would provide a direct rail link to London and Newcastle in less than 90 minutes travel time.

The airport would also be connected to major regional centres such as Sheffield, Leeds and Hull.

Up to nine million people living within a 90 minute journey time would have access to the airport by public transport, an increase of 6.6 million.

The station proposal has received widespread support and has been recognised by stakeholders including Transport for the North, Network Rail and current train operators.

The station would serve the airport’s passengers, onsite workers, new housing and employment areas – an estimated 1.6 million people a year by 2037.
The rail station would also accelerate the development of housing in the immediate vicinity and surrounding areas, with an initial delivery of more than 8,500 houses.

The airport’s Vision and Masterplan outlines expected growth over the next 20 years.

The Vision realises the airport’s full potential, delivering major international connectivity and economic benefit to Yorkshire, the surrounding regions and the UK.

This includes the creation of a highly sophisticated Aerotropolis in the Sheffield City region with the airport’s 1,600-acre site, known as Aero Centre Yorkshire, becoming a central hub.

The ‘airport city’ would create 73,000 new jobs for the area and provide advanced manufacturing, logistics and aviation-led innovation opportunities.

Regional tourism would be boosted by the construction of major attractions close to the airport. The Yorkshire Wildlife Park, which is already set to grow to 1.5 million visitors, along with the concept of a new PGA golf course, both served by the airport station, would benefit.

Peel Airports chairman Robert Hough said: “This is a Vision with a central pillar that delivers air connectivity, new housing, highly skilled employment, tourism and better rail connectivity at exceptional value for money, it is straightforward to build and deliverable in five years.

“It is of national significance for aviation and the economy, particularly the north, and we want to see it realised as soon as possible.

“This is required beyond what Heathrow expansion will deliver, with a range of benefits for the North and East of the country.”

Mayor of Doncaster, Ros Jones, added: “Doncaster Sheffield airport is a superbly located international gateway to the north.

“It is already experiencing significant growth, driving job creation and delivering new economic activity. Most importantly, it has huge additional potential and can play a major role in the future transport and economic ambitions of the north as set out in its Vision and Masterplan.”

Jonathan Spruce, Transport for the North strategy director, said: “Doncaster Sheffield airport’s Vision would see it unlock significant passenger and cargo capacity and could create a major economic cluster, supporting the transformation of the North of England economy.

“We are currently consulting on our draft strategic transport plan for the North which identifies DSA as a key economic centre and we recognise the need for enhanced rail access to DSA.”

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