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gilesdavies
Topic Author
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Doncaster Airport - What Went Wrong?

Mon May 07, 2012 1:23 pm

I was interested in other peoples views, on the short history of Robin Hood Doncaster Sheffield Airport (DSA)...

The airport has now been open just over seven years, I have never used the airport, but the terminal, facilities and infrastructure looks pretty impressive on paper:

- 9500ft Runway
- Direct Access Off the M18
- Rail Link to Doncaster Station
- Terminal Capable of Handing 5m Passenger

In this time though, the airport seems to have failed to have made a name for itself, airlines and routes seem to have come and gone. The airports main rivals, EMA and LBA seem to be flourishing, while these airports don't really have much of a larger catchment area than DSA, while infrastructure and facilities aren't really any better either...

In summary the following airlines and routes have been dropped:

Thomsonfly scrap Low Cost scheduled services
Thomson move all Long Haul ops to EMA
FlyGlobeSpan drop Toronto route after one season
FlyBE drop their BHD Route
Air Arann/Aer Lingus Operate to DUB for Summer 2010 only
Ryanair's routes to FAO and ALC dropped
easyJet withdrew all ops after Summer 2010
Thomson Airways reduced fleet size from three to two aircraft for Summer 2012
(Did I miss any?)

The only success story, really seems to be Wizzair, where they have gradually increased ops from the airport over the years... Last year alone the Poland routes were accountable for nearly 300,000 of the airports 800,000 passengers flying through the airport. With four of the airlines six routes, in the top ten destinations flown from the airport.

Im curious to know why the airport seems to be failing so spectacularly (in my humble opinion)?!

In the time the airport has been open, Ryanair have opened quite major bases at both LBA and EMA, Jet2 have continued to grow at both these airports too.

Thomson chose to move their long haul operations from Doncaster to East Midlands airport, despite the airline continuing to operate these kind of flights from Birmingham and Manchester which are both closer to EMA than DSA. So it could be argued that DSA was covering a separate region, where EMA overlaps with the aforementioned airports.

Since Thomson pulled out of the Low Cost market, the airport has never successfully managed to find another low cost carrier to replace them. easyJet tried and failed and Ryanair have pulled out of their flights to Alicante and Faro which should be popular and easy routes to fill a plane in summer!

At LBA and EMA, the airports have numerous operators flying to the popular Spanish destinations.

Also to add insult to injury, to demonstrate the airports failings, with the closure of BMI Baby at EMA, airlines like FlyBE and Monarch, have announced within days they will launch routes from the airport. While DSA continues to get overlooked!

What has gone wrong for the airport - Is it a case of an unnecessary additional airport opening, where sufficient capacity was already in place?

[Edited 2012-05-07 06:23:56]
 
[email protected]
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RE: Doncaster Airport - What Went Wrong?

Mon May 07, 2012 1:34 pm

Quoting gilesdavies (Thread starter):
The airports main rivals, EMA and LBA seem to be flourishing, while these airports don't really have much of a larger catchment area than DSA

A part of the reason must be that there are plenty of airports within 2 1/2 hours of the airport - as far as Birmingham and Newcastle - with Manchester, Leeds, and East Midlands within 1 1/2 hours. These close-by airports must share DSA's catchment and get the passengers through more frequent services, more routes, and probably lower prices.

[Edited 2012-05-07 06:36:03]
"Everyone writing for the Telegraph knows that the way to grab eyeballs is with Ryanair and/or sex."
 
destinations
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RE: Doncaster Airport - What Went Wrong?

Mon May 07, 2012 1:59 pm

What I never understand is from BRS and NCL TOM 767's make tech stops for fuel in MAN, why wouldnt they just stop off in DSA maybe sell half the seats from DSA and refuel at the same time.
 
rutankrd
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RE: Doncaster Airport - What Went Wrong?

Mon May 07, 2012 2:04 pm

Another Peel vanity project to undermine MAG GROUP and yes a failure in every respect.
 
Luftymatt
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RE: Doncaster Airport - What Went Wrong?

Mon May 07, 2012 2:06 pm

Quoting gilesdavies (Thread starter):
EMA and LBA seem to be flourishing, while these airports don't really have much of a larger catchment area than DSA,

I would have thought that the catchment area for EMA, would be a lot larger? Bearing in mind it serves a major city like Nottingham, with surrounding areas.
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Luftymatt
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RE: Doncaster Airport - What Went Wrong?

Mon May 07, 2012 2:08 pm

Quoting rutankrd (Reply 3):
Another Peel vanity project to undermine MAG GROUP and yes a failure in every respect.

I'd hardly call LPL a failure.
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rutankrd
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RE: Doncaster Airport - What Went Wrong?

Mon May 07, 2012 2:19 pm

Quoting LuftyMatt (Reply 5):
I'd hardly call LPL a failure.

I made reference to Speke where exactly ?
 
trentside
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RE: Doncaster Airport - What Went Wrong?

Mon May 07, 2012 2:58 pm

I've used DSA once. I won't again, if I can avoid it.

My biggest issue with the airport was the difficulty of getting there. EMA has fantastic bus links that run 24 hours a day, making getting there from Nottingham, Derby and Leicester easy - and it's just off the M1, so has a good locational advantage. In contrast, I had to get to DSA hours earlier than I needed to be because of the poor bus links - I then had to wait in a facility-less check in hall, as the airside area was closed due to the staff 'being on a break'.

Apart from these issues, I honestly think the better choice of destinations from EMA, LBA and MAN are the reason most people still seem to head elsewhere - in my experience, prices are usually lower too, presumably as its easier to fill the flights. There's also hardly any distance at all to HUY, which despite its size has connections to a great deal of places through AMS.
 
Luftymatt
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RE: Doncaster Airport - What Went Wrong?

Mon May 07, 2012 5:34 pm

Quoting rutankrd (Reply 6):
I made reference to Speke where exactly ?

You implied it. Unless there's another 'Peel vanity project' trying to undermine the MAG I'm not aware of?
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HullCitySpotter
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RE: Doncaster Airport - What Went Wrong?

Mon May 07, 2012 5:45 pm

Another example like this is HUY. Voted 9th best airport in the world in customer ratings; and now only has flights to AMS and Aberdeen (ABZ?). With the emergence of LBA on Ryanair, Jet2, Flybe and now even Easyjet to Geneva; these airports will always struggle to get routes, plus with DSA and HUY being so close to each other there isn't really a need for the two.

I don't really want to see either shut but HUY is definitely going down the pan I reckon unless it can pull in an extra flight or two, I remember when TOM and FCA (now the same) used to bring BLX 738s and TOM 752s in for summer services, now that's all gone. Sad times ahead.
 
rutankrd
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RE: Doncaster Airport - What Went Wrong?

Mon May 07, 2012 6:24 pm

Quoting LuftyMatt (Reply 8):
You implied it. Unless there's another 'Peel vanity project' trying to undermine the MAG I'm not aware of?

Alright then you got me.

The North West does NOT need two airports within 35 miles and Speke has never been profitable .

They got Ryan and Easy on very easy terms .

The terminal is little more than a lean-to and whilst jobs are supported - Good, it has far from achieved the goals set by Peel because its just not needed.

Peel Group should stick to property and shopping malls rather than airports.
 
SAAB900
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RE: Doncaster Airport - What Went Wrong?

Mon May 07, 2012 7:35 pm

Quoting [email protected] (Reply 1):
A part of the reason must be that there are plenty of airports within 2 1/2 hours of the airport - as far as Birmingham and Newcastle - with Manchester, Leeds, and East Midlands within 1 1/2 hours. These close-by airports must share DSA's catchment and get the passengers through more frequent services, more routes, and probably lower prices.

[email protected] has hit the nail on the head,too many airports within the same area after the same passengers!

Quoting gilesdavies (Thread starter):
easyJet withdrew all ops after Summer 2010

Easyjet are still fairly regular visitors to DSA,but without passengers! They do quite a few training flights here.

Quoting gilesdavies (Thread starter):
The only success story, really seems to be Wizzair, where they have gradually increased ops from the airport over the years... Last year alone the Poland routes were accountable for nearly 300,000 of the airports 800,000 passengers flying through the airport. With four of the airlines six routes, in the top ten destinations flown from the airport.

Yes, thank god for Wizzair otherwise they would be in even deeper trouble than they already are! Most evenings see about 3 flights to & from Poland although the outbound flights aren't great times,most of these flights leave DSA about 21.00 & don't land at their destination till turned midnight.Meaning once you've got into your destination town/city & found your hotel its turned 01.00 in the morning making it a very long day!

Quoting rutankrd (Reply 10):
Peel Group should stick to property and shopping malls rather than airports.

Yes they should,they never managed to run Sheffield City Airport/SZD(now closed) properly. It could have been thriving little airport but Peel sacrificed it for the dinosaur that is now DSA!
But DSA does have a success story,it's called Kinch Aviation- http://www.kinchaviation.com/ They are very busy with maintenance & support services for Cessna Citation & Hawker Beechcraft King Air aircraft.
Also DSA is home to a very special part of British Aviation Heritage,the worlds only flying Vulcan bomber- http://www.vulcantothesky.org/ is hangered here!

Dave(SAAB900).
 
PlymSpotter
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RE: Doncaster Airport - What Went Wrong?

Mon May 07, 2012 7:53 pm

Quoting gilesdavies (Thread starter):
Im curious to know why the airport seems to be failing so spectacularly (in my humble opinion)?!

It is a product of the UK's recent economic woes. DSA's passenger numbers are around 25% down on 2007's peak, now that might sound bad on the face of it but, compared to Exeter, Newquay, Bournemouth, Durham Tees Valley, Cardiff, Blackpool etc...it is pretty good. Had the numbers continued to decrease then I would be more inclined to agree, however they have remained roughly stable around the 800,000 to 900,000 mark for the past three years. That is good going for a fledgling airport in current market conditions.

Quoting gilesdavies (Thread starter):
What has gone wrong for the airport - Is it a case of an unnecessary additional airport opening, where sufficient capacity was already in place?

New and immature services (and therefore new airports too) are more vulnerable than established routes/airports during an economic downturn. Up until 2008 growth was positive, it is reasonable to conclude this trend would have continued had the GFC not hit, probably not as rapidly as Peel projected, but that's projections for you.

Quoting rutankrd (Reply 10):
The North West does NOT need two airports within 35 miles and Speke has never been profitable .

Can't say I can agree with any of that. An airport is not something you buy for a quick return, it is a long term investment and Peel/VAS are well aware of this. Both airports are and will be needed. The major factor dragging LPL down to a loss is the interest and debt repayments on the financing used to expand the airport facilities. Aside of dramatically increasing turnover and the airport's book value, a large amount of the repayments are attracted by other companies within the Peel group.


Dan  
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Luftymatt
Posts: 537
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RE: Doncaster Airport - What Went Wrong?

Tue May 08, 2012 12:17 am

Quoting PlymSpotter (Reply 12):
Can't say I can agree with any of that.

Me either. Liverpool is a busy regional airport, yes there's issues with the terminal, but they're not alone in the UK with that. Most terminals in this country seem to be built on the cheap, and I'm not excusing that.. They're far from the financial basket case Rutankid makes out either, there are far more obvious examples of regional airports that the UK has no need of to choose over LPL.

[Edited 2012-05-07 17:21:21]
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PlymSpotter
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RE: Doncaster Airport - What Went Wrong?

Tue May 08, 2012 12:42 am

Quoting LuftyMatt (Reply 13):
there are far more obvious examples of regional airports that the UK has no need of to choose over LPL

I can't think of any airports the UK can do without actually. Right now they are vital economic multipliers on a regional level and in the future we will need their extra capacity as airports in the South East fill up with little prospect of actual progress on increasing runway capacity.


Dan  
...love is just a camouflage for what resembles rage again...
 
Humberside
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RE: Doncaster Airport - What Went Wrong?

Wed May 09, 2012 3:25 pm

Quoting gilesdavies (Thread starter):
- Direct Access Off the M18

Not at the moment

Quoting gilesdavies (Thread starter):
- Rail Link to Doncaster Station

Well, a bus to Doncaster Station

Quoting gilesdavies (Thread starter):
Ryanair have pulled out of their flights to Alicante and Faro which should be popular and easy routes to fill a plane in summer!

ALC was pulled due to FR's dispute with ALC

Quoting HullCitySpotter (Reply 9):
Another example like this is HUY. Voted 9th best airport in the world in customer ratings; and now only has flights to AMS and Aberdeen (ABZ?).

In terms of scheduled services there is also the BE Summer Saturday JER. And Summer charters to PMI/DLM/HER/Bourgas (plus various one-off's)

Quoting HullCitySpotter (Reply 9):
I don't really want to see either shut but HUY is definitely going down the pan I reckon unless it can pull in an extra flight or two, I remember when TOM and FCA (now the same) used to bring BLX 738s and TOM 752s in for summer services, now that's all gone. Sad times ahead.

There is more to HUY than passenger flights though. Helicopters, general aviation, two headquatered airlines (Eastern and Linksair). HUY does need more passenger flights for sure, but it's not just about these flights
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gkirk
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RE: Doncaster Airport - What Went Wrong?

Thu May 10, 2012 8:45 am

Quoting destinations (Reply 2):
What I never understand is from BRS and NCL TOM 767's make tech stops for fuel in MAN, why wouldnt they just stop off in DSA maybe sell half the seats from DSA and refuel at the same time.

Because they actually filll the flights from NCL and BRS. BRS flights to SFB and CUn go via MAN, whilst from NCL, SFB is nonstop and CUN is via MAN due to runway restrictions.
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Gingersnap
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RE: Doncaster Airport - What Went Wrong?

Thu May 10, 2012 9:08 am

It's in an unfortunate geographical location.

I was over in Hangar 3 at DSA a few weeks back with BAE & Lufthansa Resource Technical Training, and the silence at the airport was deafening. Only the odd piston or small jet movement was to be had.

As others have said, it is too close to other established airports and DSA I found a pain to get to. EMA & LBA are easier to get to by comparison.
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destinations
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RE: Doncaster Airport - What Went Wrong?

Thu May 10, 2012 12:52 pm

Quoting gkirk (Reply 16):
Because they actually filll the flights from NCL and BRS. BRS flights to SFB and CUn go via MAN, whilst from NCL, SFB is nonstop and CUN is via MAN due to runway restrictions.

So far this year no flight has been full and no flight from NCL and BRS is sold out, so why not sell the extra seats at DSA and re-fuel there.
 
ACEregular
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RE: Doncaster Airport - What Went Wrong?

Fri May 11, 2012 9:40 am

Maybe because MAN is on the way!
 
babybus
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RE: Doncaster Airport - What Went Wrong?

Fri May 11, 2012 10:19 am

Maybe the question is why passengers don't want to fly from Doncaster airport.

Is the terminal too small? Is parking hard to come by and is it expensive? Is it difficult to get to on public transport? Does public transport meet the needs of arrival and departing flights? Do airlines charge too high a premium to fly from there?

If passengers were happy to fly from Doncaster the airlines would provide the flights.
and with that..cabin crew, seats for landing please.
 
PlymSpotter
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RE: Doncaster Airport - What Went Wrong?

Fri May 11, 2012 10:26 am

Quoting babybus (Reply 20):
If passengers were happy to fly from Doncaster the airlines would provide the flights.

This is a circular situation which is influenced heavily by the state of the economy. I think it's more a case that the services are not there.


Dan  
...love is just a camouflage for what resembles rage again...

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