Doncaster Sheffield Airport

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Doncaster Sheffield Airport
Dsa-logo cmyk 1.png
Robin Hood Airport (3 of 7) - - 449841.jpg
Airport typePublic
OwnerThe Peel Group
OperatorDoncaster Sheffield Airport Limited
ServesSouth Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire
LocationFinningley, near Doncaster, South Yorkshire
Opened28 April 2005
Focus city for
Elevation AMSL56 ft / 17 m
Coordinates53°28′31″N 001°00′15″W / 53.47528°N 1.00417°W / 53.47528; -1.00417Coordinates: 53°28′31″N 001°00′15″W / 53.47528°N 1.00417°W / 53.47528; -1.00417
DSA is located in South Yorkshire
Location in South Yorkshire
Direction Length Surface
m ft
02/20 2,893 9,491 Asphalt
Statistics (2019)
Passenger change (18-19)Increase15.2%
Aircraft Movements23,043
Movements change (18-19)Increase21.7%
Sources: UK AIP at NATS[1]
Statistics from the UK Civil Aviation Authority[2]

Doncaster Sheffield Airport (IATA: DSA, ICAO: EGCN), formerly Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield, is an international airport at the former RAF Finningley station, in the Metropolitan Borough of Doncaster within South Yorkshire, England. The airport lies 6 miles (10 kilometres) south-east of Doncaster and 19 mi (31 km) east of Sheffield. Handling 1.22 million passengers in 2018, the airport is the smaller of Yorkshire's two large commercial airports.[2]

The airport opened to passengers in 2005. It was initially operated by Peel Airports, a division of The Peel Group.[3] Doncaster Sheffield Airport has a CAA Public Use Aerodrome Licence 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,[4] 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.[5]

Following the ending of scheduled services from Sheffield City Airport, the former RAF Finningley was reopened as Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield (DSA) in April 2005, after low-cost flights and rising passenger demand made a new commercial airport feasible.[6] The name of the airport was controversial with 11,000 people signing a petition to oppose it.[7]

The airport's first commercial flight flew to Palma de Mallorca in Majorca, departing at 0915 on 28 April 2005.[8][9] 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.[citation needed]

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. In 2007, over one million passengers used the airport, however, this had decreased to around 700,000 by 2012, before increasing again to 1.255 million in 2016.[2]

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.[10] However, EasyJet withdrew all flights from the airport with effect from 4 January 2011.

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 Peel Group retaining the remaining 35%.[11] However, following a significant decline in passenger numbers,[12] Peel Airports sold Durham Tees Valley Airport back to Peel Group in February 2012.[3] In the second half of 2012, monthly passenger numbers at Robin Hood fell significantly[13] and in December 2012 it was announced that Robin Hood would also be sold back to Peel Group.[14][failed verification] 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.[15] 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,[16] while at Durham Tees Valley Airport, Peel were majority shareholders, with local councils retaining a minority stake. In 2014, Peel took back full ownership of Liverpool John Lennon, bringing all of Peel's airports back into group ownership, with Liverpool retaining its own management structure separate to Doncaster and Durham.

In September 2016, the airport signed a deal with Sheffield United Football Club. This resulted in Doncaster Sheffield Airport being the club's official air travel provider. To promote the partnership, a large advertisement has been displayed across one of the stands at Bramall Lane Stadium. As a method of increasing passenger numbers at the airport, the football club has also been giving away free flights to their fans. Since the new airport link road (Great Yorkshire Way) opened, which connects Parrots Corner to the M18's junction 3, Sheffield is only 30 minutes away by road which supports the partnership between the airport and the football club further.[17]

In December 2016, the airport received an entirely new corporate design including a change of name from Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield to Doncaster Sheffield Airport, with the Robin Hood title being downgraded to a lesser used graphic appendix.[citation needed] In September 2017, the airport entered a sponsorship deal with Sheffield Arena giving it the new name of Fly DSA Arena.[18]

In April 2019, Flybe announced it would be closing its base at Doncaster Sheffield Airport, and remove all crew and aircraft from 26 October 2019.[19]

In August 2020, Wizz Air UK announced it would be opening its second UK base at the airport, basing one aircraft and opening 7 new routes to add to its existing network of ten routes.[20] In September 2020, Wizz Air UK further announced another 6 routes along with basing a second aircraft increasing the size of the network to 25 routes.[21]


Runway and terminal building[edit]

The airport has a single runway designated 02/20, with dimensions of 2,895 by 60 m (9,498 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 (RAF Finningley). The runway is long enough that the airport was designated a Space Shuttle emergency landing site.

The passenger terminal has 24 check-in desks, six departure gates and three baggage carousels.

Airport hotel and car parks[edit]

A Ramada Encore chain hotel opened on 10 November 2008, with a 102-bed capacity.[22] It is situated less than ten minutes walk from the Terminal building, but has been closed since March 2020.

There are four on-site car parks at the airport. Short Stay, Long Stay, Premium Parking and Meet & Greet. All car parks are operated and managed by the airport and are all within walking distance of the terminal building.[23]

Airport business park[edit]

Work is also progressing on a new business park across from the terminal, which will link to the access road into the airport. In March 2014 the 10-hectare (25-acre) site for the park became part of Sheffield City Region Enterprise Zone.[24]

Hangar buildings[edit]

No. 3 Hangar is presently occupied by 2Excel Aviation providing Design, production and Maintenance services. Defence company BAE Systems formerly operated its Aircraft Maintenance Academy from No. 3 Hangar at the airport, before moving to Humberside Airport. Other companies that operate within the hangars include Bespoke Training Systems Limited, a Cessna Citation service center,[25] and Anglo European Express (Doncaster) Ltd (onsite regulated agents for air freight and cargo operations).

Flight training[edit]

The airport is home to two flight training schools for fixed wing and one helicopter flight school. Doncaster Sheffield Flight Training,[26] Yorkshire Aero Club[27] and Hummingbird Helicopters[28] which provides Introductory flying lessons and training towards the Private Pilot's Licence.

Airlines and destinations[edit]

The following airlines operate regular scheduled and charter flights to and from Doncaster Sheffield:[29]

BH Air Seasonal: Burgas[30]
TUI Airways[31] Alicante, Gran Canaria, Hurghada (resumes 17 December 2021),[31] Lanzarote, Málaga, Tenerife–South
Seasonal: Antalya, Burgas, Cancún, Corfu, Dalaman, Dubrovnik, Enfidha, Faro (begins 1 May 2022),[31] Girona, Heraklion, Ibiza, Kefalonia, Kittilä, Kos, Melbourne/Orlando (begins 4 May 2022),[31] Menorca, Palma de Mallorca, Paphos, Pula, Reus, Rhodes, Zakynthos
Wizz Air[32] Alicante, Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca, Faro, Gdańsk, Katowice, Košice, Kraków, Lanzarote, Larnaca, Lublin, Málaga, Palma de Mallorca,[33] Poznań, Riga, Suceava,[20] Tenerife–South, Vilnius, Warsaw–Chopin, Wrocław
Seasonal: Burgas,[33] Dalaman,[33] Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Heraklion[33]

Vulcan XH558[edit]

In 2011, the Vulcan to the Sky Trust relocated Avro Vulcan XH558 (G-VLCN) The Spirit Of Great Britain to the airport, arriving from its former temporary winter base, RAF Lyneham, on 29 March. It was the last airworthy example of the Vulcan bomber fleet, restored to flight by the Trust in 2007. One of the reasons for the move to a commercial airport was to improve access for the public to see XH558 up close, something not possible while based at operational RAF bases. The move was deliberately not announced in advance, both to keep costs down at the not yet complete new base, and to not overshadow ongoing repatriation flights of Britain's war casualties to Lyneham from Afghanistan.[34] The airport remained XH558's home base until its final flight, a display over the airport, on 28 October 2015.[35]

With XH558 now permanently grounded, the Trust intends to remain at Doncaster Sheffield Airport, and make the Vulcan the focus of a new educational and heritage facility, the first stage being to establish the Vulcan Aviation Academy & Heritage Centre. This will feature an academy building for 14-18 year olds, with the Vulcan housed in an adjacent heritage centre, where it will be maintained so as to be able to perform regular fast taxi runs, the frequency of which would be funding dependent.[36][37]


Traffic statistics[edit]

Doncaster Sheffield Airport
passenger totals 2005-2019 (millions)
Traffic statistics at Doncaster Sheffield[2]
Year Passengers
% change
% change
% change
2005 600,907 Steady 31 Steady 6,914 Steady
2006 900,067 Increase49.8 167 Increase438.7 10,642 Increase 53.9
2007 1,078,374 Increase19.8 1,602 Increase859.3 12,667 Increase 19.0
2008 968,481 Decrease10.2 1,350 Decrease15.7 13,066 Increase 3.1
2009 835,768 Decrease13.7 344 Decrease74.5 10,854 Decrease 16.9
2010 876,153 Increase4.8 216 Decrease37.2 11,030 Increase 1.6
2011 822,877 Decrease6.1 102 Decrease52.8 11,876 Increase 7.7
2012 693,661 Decrease15.7 276 Increase170.6 11,724 Decrease 1.3
2013 690,351 Decrease0.5 354 Increase28.3 11,197 Decrease 4.5
2014 724,885 Increase5.0 858 Increase142.4 11,697 Increase 4.5
2015 857,109 Increase18.2 3,201 Increase273.1 11,998 Increase 2.6
2016 1,255,907 Increase46.5 9,341 Increase191.8 16,098 Increase 34.2
2017 1,335,590 Increase6.3 8,656 Decrease7.3 17,435 Increase 8.3
2018 1,222,347 Decrease8.4 7,107 Decrease17.8 18,930 Increase 8.5
2019 1,407,862 Increase15.2 17,647 Increase148.3 23,043 Increase 21.7

Busiest routes[edit]

20 busiest routes to and from Doncaster Sheffield Airport (2019)[38]
Rank Airport Passengers handled % change
1 Bucharest 96,612 Increase 52.0
2 Katowice 82,279 Increase 1.1
3 Gdańsk 80,842 Increase 10.1
4 Alicante 68,583 Increase 9.7
5 Warsaw 67,711 Decrease 1.5
6 Vilnius 58,793 Increase 43.3
7 Palma de Malloca 55,197 Increase 4.4
8 Poznań 54,514 Increase 7.9
9 Tenerife–South 51,309 Decrease 0.6
10 Amsterdam 48,840 Decrease 16.2
11 Riga 43,937 Increase 3.6
12 Málaga 42,299 Decrease 12.5
13 Budapest 42,116 Increase 592.6
14 Cluj Napoca 41,165 Increase 14.3
15 Lanzarote 39,993 Increase 1.5
16 Kraków 39,345 n/a
17 Wroclaw 35,194 Decrease 1.4
18 Debrecen 33,605 Increase 2187.6
19 Dublin 29,779 Decrease 11.5
20 Paphos 24,528 Increase 9.4

Ground transport[edit]


The airport is located close to the M18 motorway; a road link from Junction 3 of the M18 to Parrot's Corner (junction of the A638 and the B6463) was opened on 29 February 2016[39] before being extended to the airport on 15 June 2018.[40] Part of the Finningley and Rossington Regeneration Route Scheme, the road is called the Great Yorkshire Way, and is a continuation of the A6182 road from Doncaster town centre. In addition the M18 has been widened to three lanes northbound from junction 2 (for the A1(M)) to Junction 3. Also nearby are the A1(M) and the M180.

Taxis are available directly outside the terminal building. These are operated by the airports official partner Little Arrow Taxis.


There are regular First South Yorkshire and Stagecoach Yorkshire bus services directly linking the airport with Frenchgate Interchange and Sheffield Interchange.

The 57a and 57c bus services replace the previous "X4" express service and are operated by First South Yorkshire. The services link the airport with Doncaster town centre calling at a number of local areas along the journey before arriving at Frenchgate Interchange.[41]

The X6 bus service, operated by Stagecoach Yorkshire, is a daytime only express service that departs from Sheffield Interchange. The service calls at Wickersley, Bramley, Advanced Manufacturing Park, Doncaster iPort and arrives at Doncaster Sheffield Airport approximately 65 minutes later.[42] This replaced the previous 737 express service.


Doncaster railway station, located on the East Coast Main Line, is 7 mi (11 km) from the airport and is adjacent to the Frenchgate Interchange.

In addition, the airport lies alongside the Doncaster to Lincoln railway line, and plans for a station at Finningley to replace the station that closed in 1961 were granted planning permission in 2008. However, a 2012 report by Network Rail stated that more trains on the line would be required to make the station viable.[43] There have also been plans to connect the airport to the East Coast Main Line with a dedicated rail link.[44]

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • 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.
  • On 15 August 2014, a Links Air flight from Belfast City Airport, operated by G-GAVA, crashed on landing at the airport following a landing gear failure which caused substantial damage to the aircraft. One passenger was taken to hospital with minor injuries. The airport was closed for several hours.[45][46]

In media[edit]

During its first few years of operation, the 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 on 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.


A statue of the airport's former namesake, Robin Hood

Until December 2016, the airport was branded Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield. The "Robin Hood" name was chosen for these reasons:[citation needed]

  • 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.[51]
  • Some later Robin Hood legends, and the popular 20th-century books, films and TV programmes, are set in Sherwood Forest.[52]
  • The forests of Sherwood and Barnsdale merged in this area of Yorkshire.[53]
  • 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.[54]


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  16. ^ "Aviation - The Peel Group". Archived from the original on 2 December 2013. Retrieved 24 November 2013.
  17. ^ "Doncaster Sheffield Airport (DSA) have been announced today as the Official Airport Partner of Sheffield United Football Club". Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  18. ^ Walker, Graham (20 September 2017). "VIDEO: Fly DSA Arena takes off as Doncaster Sheffield Airport gets naming rights of Sheffield Arena". The Sheffield Star. Archived from the original on 13 July 2018. Retrieved 13 July 2018.
  19. ^ Molly Dyson (4 April 2019). "Flybe to stop using Embraer jets". Buying Business Travel. Archived from the original on 4 April 2019. Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  20. ^ a b "Wizz Air announces new base and major expansion at Doncaster Sheffield Airport". 13 August 2020.
  21. ^ "Doncaster Sheffield Airport -".
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  28. ^ "Welcome to Hummingbird Helicopters". Archived from the original on 2 September 2018. Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  29. ^ - Destinations Archived 16 February 2017 at the Wayback Machine retrieved 20 October 2019
  30. ^
  31. ^ a b c d "Flight Timetable". Retrieved 20 October 2019.
  32. ^ "Timetable". Retrieved 20 October 2019.
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  36. ^ "An exciting new life for XH558". Archived 26 November 2015 at the Wayback Machine Vulcan To The Sky, 25 November 2015.
  37. ^ "EoF Question & Answers - Vulcan To The Sky". Archived from the original on 31 October 2015. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
  38. ^[bare URL]
  39. ^ "New £56m Robin Hood Airport to M18 link road opens". BBC News. 29 February 2016. Archived from the original on 8 October 2016. Retrieved 2 January 2017.
  40. ^ "Second phase of 'hugely significant' Great Yorkshire Way in Doncaster completed". BDaily News. BDaily News. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  41. ^ "First Bus South Yorkshire". First South Yorkshire.
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  43. ^ Network Rail, Route Specifications 2012 – London North Eastern, p. 76
  44. ^ "Proposed £280 million Doncaster airport rail link could create 70,000 jobs". Doncaster Free Press. Doncaster Free Press. Archived from the original on 14 July 2018. Retrieved 14 July 2018.
  45. ^ "Robin Hood airport remains closed". The Guardian. 16 August 2014. Archived from the original on 18 July 2018. Retrieved 18 July 2018.
  46. ^ Ranter, Harro. "ASN Aircraft accident British Aerospace 3102 Jetstream 31 G-GAVA Doncaster/Sheffield-Robin Hood Airport (DCA)". Archived from the original on 18 July 2018. Retrieved 18 July 2018.
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  52. ^ Robin Hood in popular culture
  53. ^ "Reference to Barnsdale Forest with Map also showing Merger of Forests in this area". Archived from the original on 6 February 2012. Retrieved 24 November 2013.
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  • Delve, Ken (2006). The Military Airfields of Britain - Northern England : Co. Durham, Cumbria, Isle of Man, Lancashire, Merseyside, Manchester, Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, Yorkshire. Marlborough: Crowood Press. ISBN 1-86126-809-2.

External links[edit]

Media related to Doncaster Sheffield Airport at Wikimedia Commons