Thursday 20 June 2013 04:26 UTC
This forum is for anything to do with light aviation
It was doomed when it did not receive support in the last Govt aviation white paper. It meant that local politicians just walked away from it so there was no-one to fight the supporters corner no matter how valid the arguments were.
If you check in the minutiae of the paper you can see who was asked to give their opinion over the viability of Sheffield City - it was Peel and the same consultants they were using to plan Doncaster Sheffield. No-one else. It then transpired that the airport running contract with Peel was only for 10 years and that afterwards ownership of the land would transfer to them for £1. In the the years that the airport was operated Peel built a huge business park around it and then on the stroke of 10 years ditched the airport and got the land. A very clever piece of long term strategy by Peel.
PS: It has been suggested to me that Peel were concerned that the imminent new airport at Sheffield would scupper their plans for developing Finningley (Donc/Sheff) so bid to build/run Sheffield with the long term view to ruining it and bagging some prime development land at the same time.
Sounds like the Sutton Harbour Armaggeddon clause used at Plymouth.
Why am I not surprised? I think we need to start to look at other airfields in similar positions - operated by owners or leasholders who are running down activity ready for future development - and get our retaliation in first.
Went there once (PA-28), no problem with the climbout path or land clear. (People who think that's a problem should visit Sata Monica!) I was the only movement that day.
Stunned by the number of supernumary council employees it took to run the place, shades of Oban. The one lady in the tea bar and a CTAF would have been enough.
The situation with airports like this is a bit chicken and egg - if the local govenment doesn't take an interest and develop as part of a long term infrastructure strategy then the area will suffer. They may not realise, or notice, but it will suffer.
In the US it is very common to have two airports for a city - the main "international" for the airlines and heavy freight, then an "exec" for the business and private traffic. Both sets of operators are happy because they are not "bothered" by the different requirements and habits of the other.
Somewhere like Sheffield City would not be suitable for big airline stuff; the shell suits can go a little further out for their booze cruises to Aiya Napa. The City airport is for people coming in from Europe to do business, visit their subsidiaries/customers/whatever and local business to get out and about without having to drive to Heathrow or Manchester. The airport bottom line is not the main point here - the economic health of the region is.
Having such an airport makes the are attractive to the better off residents who can use the facilities for business and pleasure - and the whole economy benefits from the inflow of spending and jobs are created.
Gloucester is s shining example......I assume the airport makes a profit (barely if you believe Matspart3) but it provides lots of jobs. As do the based businesses and there are quite a number of local residents keeping their aircraft there; providing more jobs and spending on houses (with all the associated stuff), restaurants etc.
I intend to live forever.... so far, so good.
I've signed the pettition.
However as others have alluded to, there has been a large body of opinion that from the very start, this was always just a scam created by and for the owners. It goes like this:
- Owners want to build a big industrial park - but can't get permission
- Owners know that local councillors like the idea of a airport to promote local business - so the propose building an airport - provided that (a) the local council put up most of the money and (b) there is a clause in the contract that says that if it fails to be profitiable - they can buy it back for £1 - and build an industrial park (what they always wanted).
- So airport gets built and opened - but the owners / operator fail to put in the infrastructure / support to make it attractive to the big jet operators - and also make the pricing and operating terms unattractive to the small to medium segment of the market (compulsory handing etc etc).
- Surprise ........ the airport doesn't make a profit and the owner invokes the clause that allows them to buy it back and build the industrial park.
The local council pays for it and hand it over the new owners - the owner then ensures it cannot be profitable - then buys it all for just £1 (with planning permission for their industrial park). Wonderful if you can get away with it.
How can local councillirs be so naive.
I understand the logic, and the cynic in me wants to believe it. In fainess, though, on the one occasion I flew in to Sheffield, there was no mandatory handling, the fuel price was competitive and they waived the landing fee if you bought any.
Peel didn't build the airport - it looks like they bought the airport after it had been open a few years, so I don't think it's quite as cynical as Lefty says. The previous owner (and developer) ran into financial problems and had to sell. But I think it's obvious that they had no intention for it to continue as an airport long-term.
I've signed the petition without a second thought.
How much infrastructure remains? I heard the runway had been been shortened, but Google Earth shows an old image.
With GPS approaches and multilateration replacing radar in some areas maybe technology can help. EASA only scope in runways longer than 800m which would be enough for GA and there is a process to avoid having to be licensed.
Has anybody got some recent photos? Be interesting to see the current state of play.
I was involved in setting up the fuel facility ... it was never going to make money.
Small locations such as this incur disproportionately high costs, any airline that operates from such a location will not pay the local price and will tanker fuel from other locations, airline flight ops have very sophisticated tools at their disposal to calculate the cost benefit of where to pick up their fuel, this works to the disadvantage of many regional airports around the UK. I say disadvantage because without the airline uplifts that reduces the number of customers around who the costs can be spread, and that is always likely to the disadvantage of GA customers.
Sheffield was nice while it lasted but sadly it's gone forever ... now if this had been the USA then it would have been quite different ... they do a much better job of providing municipal airports ...
Now theres 2 words you never hear about sheffield
posh / nice !
Flyin above the speed limit
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