Doncaster Sheffield Airport (DSA), one of the largest strategic development zones in the Yorkshire region of the U.K., last week received preliminary approval from the city council to build a 3.5 million-square-foot advanced manufacturing and logistics development facility. The investment is aimed at making DSA a credible alternative to London's congested Heathrow International Airport, 170 miles south.
The proposed facility will be located within a region that houses manufacturing facilities for Boeing Co., Rolls Royce and supercar maker McLaren. Plans also call for a rail freight terminal adjacent to the site.
The project is being developed by Peel L&P, the commercial real estate arm of infrastructure investment conglomerate Peel Group, which owns and operates DSA, along with several U.K. seaports and logistics properties.
DSA reported a record cargo throughput of 18,000 tons in fiscal year 2019, a 42% year-over-year increase. The former Royal Air Force facility features a single runway that is longer and wider than those at other airports in northern England and has no slot constraints, making it suitable for widebody, long-haul cargo aircraft.
DSA officials say the airport, along with planned new highways, will facilitate regional manufacturing activity and help turn the area into a major logistics hub.
The airport's master plan targets doubling throughput to 40,000 tons yearly by 2022-23 by expanding cargo-related activities with existing operators and growing the portfolio of carriers serving the airport. The long-term strategy envisions cargo throughput increasing to 200,000 tons annually.
Qatar Cargo and Saudia Cargo completed initial operations at DSA in early November. The airport previously hosted cargo operations by wet lessor Atlas Air and freighter operator CargoLogicAir. The only scheduled passenger services are provided by Germany-based tourism specialist Tui and Budapest-based low-cost carrier Wizz Air.