Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield
|Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield
Doncaster Sheffield Airport
|IATA: DSA – ICAO: EGCN|
|Operator||Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield|
|Serves||Doncaster, Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley (South Yorkshire), Retford, Worksop(Bassetlaw District)|
|Location||Finningley, South Yorkshire|
|Elevation AMSL||55 ft / 17 m|
|Passenger change 11-12||15.7%|
|Movements change 11-12||1.3%|
|Sources: UK AIP at NATS
Statistics from the UK Civil Aviation Authority
Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield (IATA: DSA, ICAO: EGCN) is an international airport located at the former RAF Finningley airbase at Finningley, in the Metropolitan Borough of Doncaster within South Yorkshire, England. The airport lies 3 NM (5.6 km; 3.5 mi) southeast of Doncaster and 18 mi (29 km) east of Sheffield.
The airport was initially operated by Peel Airports, a division of The Peel Group. At this time, Peel Airports owned and managed Liverpool John Lennon Airport, Robin Hood Airport and City Airport Manchester. Peel Airports also owned a 75% stake in Durham Tees Valley Airport, the remaining 25% being owned by local councils in the DTVA area.
By 2010 the Peel Group was attempting to secure outside investment for Peel Airports. In June 2010 it was announced that Vantage Airport Group (formerly Vancouver Airport Services) had agreed to buy a 65% stake in Peel Airports, with The Peel Group retaining the remaining 35%. However, following a significant decline in passenger numbers, Peel Airports sold Durham Tees Valley Airport back to the Peel Group in February 2012. In the second half of 2012, monthly passenger numbers at Robin Hood fell significantly and in December 2012 it was announced that Robin Hood would also be sold back to the Peel Group. As a result, by January 2013 only Liverpool John Lennon Airport was still owned by Peel Airports, with Vantage Airport Group owning 65% of this company. At Durham Tees Valley Airport and Robin Hood Airport, Vantage's involvement had ended. Robin Hood Airport was once again wholly owned by The Peel Group, while at Durham Tees Valley Airport The Peel Group were majority shareholders, with local councils retaining a minority stake.
Doncaster Sheffield Airport has a CAA Public Use Aerodrome Licence (Number P876) that allows flights for the public transport of passengers or for flying instruction.
The airport owes its origins to military aviation, having been founded as Finningley Airfield in 1915.
During the First World War, it was used as a base by the Royal Flying Corps as they intercepted German Zeppelins targeting the industrial cities of the North. In the Second World War the airfield was used primarily for training purposes, serving as a finishing school for new crews of the larger aircraft in Bomber Command; only a few combat missions took off from Finningley. The Cold War saw the airfield's importance rise when it was used for nuclear-armed Vulcan bombers. Training once again became the priority in the 1970s and 1980s before the airport was decommissioned in 1995.
It was reopened as Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield in April 2005 after low-cost flights and rising passenger demand made a new commercial airport feasible. The identity of the airport was controversial with 11,000 people signing a petition to oppose it.
The airport's first commercial flight flew to Palma de Mallorca in Majorca, departing at 0915 on 28 April 2005. The airport was projected to serve at least a million passengers during 2006. The actual figure for its first year was 899,000, making the airport the 23rd largest in the UK. By August 2007 the new airport had handled 2.28 million passengers.
Long haul flights to North America began in summer 2007, with Flyglobespan operating to Hamilton, Ontario (for Toronto), and Thomsonfly to Orlando, Cancún and Puerto Plata. All these routes have since been discontinued.
Aer Lingus then launched services to Dublin in 2010, using ATR72 aircraft which were operated by Aer Arann. However load factors made the route no longer viable and it was cancelled in October 2010 just months after its launch.
In December 2009, EasyJet announced that from April 2010 it would operate flights from Doncaster to Amsterdam, Barcelona, Faro, Palma de Mallorca and Prague. These flights were expected to carry 300,000 passengers in the first year of operation. However, EasyJet withdrew all flights from the airport with effect from 4 January 2011.
In May 2010 Thomson Airways announced that it would replace one of its Boeing 737-300's based at the airport with a Boeing 737-800 creating 15,000 additional seats annually. However in May 2011 Thomson Airways announced that it would cut aircraft based at Doncaster by a third, down to two for summer 2012.
Wizz Air announced a new route for summer 2011 to Vilnius, in addition to its services to Gdansk, Katowice, Poznan, Warsaw and Wroclaw. This route is expected to create around 30,000 extra seats. Peel, the airports owners said that "these extra routes would replace the loss of the EasyJet flights". Doncaster is Wizz Air's second largest hub in the United Kingdom after Luton.
In late 2010, Ryanair announced flights to Tenerife South and Faro airports although Faro was deleted for 2012 and the Alicante service dropped due to a dispute with Alicante Airport. For 2012 Ryanair announced flights to Girona.
Since 2011, the airport has been the home base of the last remaining airworthy Avro Vulcan aircraft.
The airport currently has a single runway designated 02/20, with a length of 2,893 by 60 m (9,491 by 197 ft), making it longer and wider than those at many other airports in Northern England. This stems from the airport's history as a former long-range nuclear bomber base (see RAF Finningley), and makes the airport suitable for wide-bodied, long-haul or cargo-carrying aircraft. The runway is, in fact, long enough that the airport was designated a Space Shuttle emergency landing site. There is significant room at the airport for further passenger and cargo capacity expansion in the future. As it stands Terminal capacity is around 2.5 million passengers annually.
Inside the passenger terminal are 24 check in desks, 6 departure gates and 3 baggage carousels. Alpha airport shopping, WH Smith, Wetherspoons & Costa Coffee all have retail areas within the terminal as well as gaming facilities.
A Ramada Encore chain hotel opened on 10 November 2008, with a 102 bed capacity. Work is also progressing on a new 62-acre (250,000 m2) business park across from the terminal, which will link to the access road into the airport.
Defence company BAE Systems operates its Aircraft Maintenance Academy from No. 3 Hangar at the airport. Other companies that operate within the hangars include Bespoke Training Systems Limited, Kinch Aviation Services - a facility for the maintenance of the Cessna Citation, which also includes an aircraft spray facility. Anglo European Express(Doncaster)ltd - Onsite regulated agents for airfreight and cargo operations
Airlines and destinations
|BH Air||Seasonal: Bourgas|
|Ryanair||Seasonal: Girona, Tenerife-South|
|Thomas Cook Airlines||Seasonal: Dalaman, Palma de Mallorca|
|Thomas Cook Airlines
operated by Nouvelair
|Thomson Airways||Alicante, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Málaga, Paphos, Sharm el-Sheikh, Tenerife-South
Seasonal: Antalya, Barbados, Bourgas, Corfu, Dalaman, Enfidha, Faro, Ibiza, Kos, Minorca, Palma de Mallorca, Reus, Rhodes, Turin
|Wizz Air||Gdańsk, Katowice, Poznań, Vilnius, Warsaw-Modlin, Wrocław|
The airport currently handles occasional one-off ad hoc freight flights, using aircraft such as the A300, DC10, MD11, Boeing 747 and Antonov 124. In February 2010, the airport was host to the world's largest aircraft, the Antonov 225. The airport also notably handled the aircraft which rescued lions from Romania.
There is space and infrastructure in place from RAF Finningley for further development of cargo services.
The airport is home to Doncaster Sheffield Flying School which is the only flying school in Doncaster, offering introductory flying lessons, pilot training and aircraft hire.
In 2007 over one million passengers used the airport, however this had decreased to around 700,000 by 2012.
|Number of Passengers||Number of Movements||Passengers Change YoY|
|Source: UK Civil Aviation Authority|
|Rank||Airport||Passengers handled|| % Change
2010 / 11
|1||Spain - Tenerife-South||66,503||96.8|
|2||Spain - Alicante||62,639||8.2|
|3||Spain - Palma-Mallorca||60,802||17.6|
|4||Poland - Katowice||55,729||0.2|
|5||Poland - Gdansk||50,567||8.8|
|6||Turkey - Dalaman||44,404||1.7|
|7||Poland - Wroclaw||40,028||88.2|
|8||Poland - Poznań||39,864||3.3|
|10||Portugal - Faro||34,188||25.4|
|Source: UK Civil Aviation Authority |
The airport is located close to the M18 motorway, but currently has no direct link road. In April 2011 funding (from the Regional Growth Fund) was announced for a direct road link from Junction 3 of the M18 to Parrot's Corner (junction of the A638 and the B6463) and construction was due to start in late summer 2012 though initial site clearance work only commenced in early 2013 . Also nearby are the A1(M) Motorway, M62 motorway and M1 motorway. There is also a connection from Junction 34 of the A1(M) motorway. The airport has over 2,500 car parking spaces.
Doncaster station is 7 mi (11 km) from the airport. Doncaster is 1 hour 35 minutes from London Kings Cross or 40 minutes from Leeds City going north. The journey to Sheffield station is around 40 minutes. Several direct bus services link Doncaster station with the airport.
In addition, the airport lies alongside the Doncaster to Lincoln railway line, and plans for a station at Finningley to replace that closed in 1961 were granted planning permission in 2008. Doncaster Council are now considering this with a target opening date of 2013. However, a 2012 report by Network Rail stated that more trains on the line would be required to make the station viable.
There are regular bus services linking the airport with Doncaster, Barnsley, Retford, Worksop and other surrounding areas. At one time there was a shuttle service between Doncaster railway station/Doncaster Town Centre & Bus station and the airport, running non-stop. It was numbered 707 and through tickets were sold from the GNER/National Express/East Coast website from stations on the ECML direct to the airport, including travel on this bus service. Soon after operations started the 707 route was adjusted to call at local stops along the route, resulting in longer journey times. As of August 2010 the route has been scrapped altogether, with First's 91 service being the 'official' airport bus, with dedicated buses with larger luggage racks being on the route. Despite the 707 airport bus service being withdrawn, as of September the through tickets on the East Coast website to the airport, including travel on this bus service, are still shown when requested and available to purchase.
Accidents and incidents
On 6 January 2010, Paul Chambers, who was intending to travel from Doncaster Sheffield, posted a message to Twitter threatening to bomb the airport. He was later arrested, tried and convicted of sending a menacing message. In July 2012, the conviction was quashed on appeal.
Airport in the media
During its first few years of operation, Robin Hood Airport has featured in the media, in particular numerous articles on its status as the UK's newest international airport have seen it become part of the debate into air tourism and environmental issues. On 24 January 2007, the airport featured in the BBC Two documentary Should I Really Give Up Flying?, with Doncaster actor Brian Blessed fronting local opinions on the issue.
Come Fly with Me
Doncaster Airport was also used as one of the settings for the BBC mockumentary Come Fly with Me. Matt Lucas and David Walliams spent two weeks at the airport filming. The programme aired from Christmas 2010 through January 2011.
In 1984 Robin Hood Airport (or at that time RAF Finningley) had several appearances in the BBC nuclear war docudrama Threads where it was destroyed by a Soviet nuclear warhead in an air-attack. Threads first aired in 1984 on BBC Two but was repeated on BBC One in 1985. It was not shown again on British television until 2003 on BBC Four.
||This article may contain original research. (January 2010)|
The name is now often simply referred to on travel websites and on other literature as Doncaster/Sheffield Airport or Doncaster Airport, even though the official name is Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield. It was renamed 'Robin Hood' based on the following local information:
- The original Robin Hood legends are set in Barnsdale Forest, the area of South Yorkshire which surrounded Doncaster and Pontefract. This legend is reinforced by the fact that the now closed village pub in nearby Hatfield Woodhouse is known as the Robin Hood and Little John.
- The airport has a historical connection to Nottinghamshire (as the parish of Finningley was, until 1974 and the Local Government Act 1972, administered as part of Nottinghamshire) and still resides in the boundary of the Diocese of Nottingham.
- The runway extension (completed in 1957) to accommodate Vulcan bombers, extended the airfield into the county of Nottinghamshire.
- Some later Robin Hood legends - and the popular 20th century books, films and TV programmes are set in Sherwood Forest.
- The Metropolitan Borough of Doncaster is closer to what is left of Sherwood Forest than the city of Nottingham is.
- The forests of Sherwood and Barnsdale merged in this area of Yorkshire.
- The name would provide an identity which would raise a lot of attention (if a little controversy) for the airport and create a marketing opportunity.
The airport name has caused media controversy as Robin Hood was not, during the 20th century, regularly associated with Doncaster, despite the Barnsdale legends and the references to Robin Hood in pub names such as the aforementioned Robin Hood and Little John. Many citizens of Nottingham feel that Robin Hood should be the icon of their city alone (despite the fact that it was the Sheriff that came from Nottingham).
Names that were then suggested by people of the borough and surrounding areas included:
- Doncaster International Airport
- South Yorkshire International Airport
- Finningley International Airport
Visitors may refer to the airport as 'Robin Hood' or Doncaster/Sheffield Airport; longstanding local residents may refer to the airport as 'Finningley' or 'Finno'; otherwise the airport is referred to as Doncaster Airport.
In terms of aviation communication, the airport is known as Doncaster (Doncaster Radar, Doncaster Tower etc.)
- Doncaster Sheffield - EGCN
- CAA: UK Annual Airport Statistics
- History of Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield
- '"Airport's new name misses target"' 12 November 2004 BBC News.
- 'Take-off at new Yorkshire Airport'
- '"Bevy of Maid Marians laid on to cheer lift-off of DSA1 at Doncaster's Robin Hood airport"' The Guardian (29 April 2005)
- Major boost for airport as UK's biggest airline set to move in
- Ramada Encore Hotel Lands At Airport Business Park
- Invest in Doncaster - Businesses Onboard
- Number of Passengers including both domestic and international.
- Number of Movements represents total aircraft takeoffs and landings during that year.
- UK Airport Statistics
- Sheffield Telegraph. 19 July 2012. p. 34.
- Robin Hood Airport Car Parking
- Doncaster Council draft Access Strategy report, 13 December 2006
- Network Rail, Route Specifications 2012 – London North Eastern, p76
- East Coast trains online ticket sales, 22 September 2010
- Robin Hood Airport Press Office
- high_flying_comics_come_down_to_earth_at_yorkshire_airport_1_3029440 High-flying comics come down to earth at Yorkshire airport
- Table of parishes and other places in Nottinghamshire, up to 1842
- Robin Hood in popular culture
- Sherwood Forest County Park map
- Reference to Barnsdale Forest with Map also showing Merger of Forests in this area
- Evidence of Controversy caused by Airport Name and Marketing opportunity
||This article has an unclear citation style. (January 2010)|
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