SHEFFIELD CITY AIRPORT IN DANGER OF BEING LOST FOREVER
Save Sheffield City Airport for the benefit of the people and businesses of Sheffield and Rotherham
Close to the Advanced Manufacturing Park just off Sheffield Parkway is the dormant Sheffield City Airport. Opened in 1998 it was built on the only topographically suitable site in Sheffield to emulate the highly successful London City Airport which currently handles almost 3m passengers a year. Sheffield City Airport is located only four miles from the centre of Sheffield and three miles from the centre of Rotherham. These two communities have a combined population of nearly one million and within a sixty minute drive the population exceeds nine million.
The 120 acres of prime land adjacent to the M1 and Sheffield Parkway was given to all of us by the British Steel Corporation on which to build an airport for the benefit of us all The Federation of Small Businesses is the UK's leading business organisation with 200,000 members. It exists to protect and promote the interests of the self-employed, and all those who run their own business.
SHEFFIELD CITY AIRPORT – DISPELLING THE 10 MYTHS
1) Sheffield City Airport closed because it was not commercially viable Untrue: It had a huge amount going for it – very close to the centre of a big conurbation, perfect for time-conscious business travellers. The problem was that it wasn’t given enough time to establish itself. The airport contract said clearly that it was to be given ten years to build up its traffic but after only five years the airport’s fire cover was downgraded, forcing it to close for commercial travel.
2) The runway is too short Untrue: Sheffield has a 1211 metre runway. There are many regional airliners operating out of cities all over the world that are designed specifically to land and take off on 1200 metre runways. London City Airport handles about 3m passengers per year, all of them flying in and out on regional airliners. They also operate daily direct return flights to New York, Monday - Friday.
3) Airlines stopped using Sheffield City Airport because of declining passenger numbers Untrue: The level of fire cover was reduced to the most basic category in 2002 – we still don’t know exactly who made this decision, but it is assumed it was made to hasten a decision to switch operations to Finningley. The rules on fire cover are extremely strict. The Civil Aviation Authority publishes a big manual called CAP168 – Licensing of Aerodromes. Chapter 8 of CAP168 deals with rescue and fire fighting service. At the point when fire cover was reduced, all airline flights had to stop.
4) A small city airport cannot attract sufficient inward investment to warrant its operation Untrue: Toronto City Airport (with a shorter runway than Sheffield’s) handled 1.55m passengers in 2011, and it generates C$2bn (£1.25bn) to Toronto’s economy by bringing business travellers to the city.
5) The airport is not a truly international airport and won’t provide services to the destinations businesses need Untrue: Sheffield City Airport is intended to provide international links with the major European centres of commerce and technology in order to allow local businesses to reach customers, suppliers and partners. It would be quite capable of facilitating shuttle services to important centres such as Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Dusseldorf, Paris and Geneva, as well as a daily link to an international ‘hub’.
6) Robin Hood Airport has taken over the services previously provided by Sheffield City Airport Untrue: Robin Hood Airport is providing flights solely to holiday destinations; it has failed to establish routes to any international capital cities or commercial centres. Hence the Advanced Manufacturing Park, the M1 Strategic Economic Zone and the Sheffield City Region are deprived of this facility.
7) The new wind turbines at the Advanced Manufacturing Park mean the airport cannot be reopened Untrue: CAP168 – Licensing of Aerodromes determines which areas have to be kept clear for aircraft which are taking-off and landing, and the turbines are well clear of those areas.
8) It is a major disadvantage that airlines such as EasyJet and Ryanair can’t use Sheffield City Airport Untrue: The airport wasn’t built with them in mind. Low-cost airlines only carry 17% of the world’s passenger traffic. 76% of passenger flights are with big airlines such as BA, Lufthansa, Air France and KLM. All of these airlines have regional divisions which use regional jets or turboprops – the kind of aircraft for which Sheffield City was designed.
9) Reopening Sheffield City Airport would detract from the operation of Robin Hood Airport Untrue: The two operations are chasing completely different markets. However there is evidence to suggest that the two airports under a single management structure could complement each other, allowing each to focus their operations on their respective key markets whilst reducing costs and building economies of scale.
10) The future of aviation in South Yorkshire is Robin Hood Airport This may well be true... if the politicians lack the vision to put Sheffield back on the aviation map: Robin Hood Airport is currently handling only a handful of flights daily; it is achieving less than 40% of its projected passenger capacity. Passenger numbers have declined annually and the total for 2012 will be less than 700,000. Its owners recorded losses of £11.4 million last year. Much hope has been pinned on the so-called airport link-road (which actually stops 2 miles short of the airport).
There are plans to redevelop the former Sheffield City Airport and build a business park on the site. The Federation of Small Businesses however believes that the airport might have a vital role to play in the regeneration of the regional economy and wishes to preserve the airport infrastructure until some fresh expert opinion is sought and a public enquiry held to determine its future. The FSB has initiated a petition to determine the views of the local public and businesses within the region.
To view the petition and have your voice heard go to:
If you want to support the FSB and don’t want to do so online - please write to your local councillor or MP calling for a review into the closure of Sheffield City Airport