Doncaster’s airport could be as big as Leeds-Bradford within five years after a crucial link road opens, bosses claim.
Due to open in January, the FARRRS dual carriageway will instantly double the number of people within half-an-hour of the Finningley site, to a million.
Some 6m will be under an hour away, the same as its West Yorkshire rival. Leeds-Bradford carried 3.3m passengers last year, compared to 725,000 in Doncaster.
Speaking at a dinner to celebrate the 10th anniversary of commercial flights, managing director Steve Gill said he had a five-year plan based on a transformation in passenger numbers after the road opens.
He added: “We have a plan and we are ambitious, there’s no reason why we can’t be at the same level as Leeds-Bradford. The airlines will look at us very differently once the road is open.”
Owners Peel has ploughed £150m into the site - and a further £12m into the £56m road - after agreeing to buy it from the Ministry of Defence in 1999. The first commercial flight was on April 28 2005. The recession grounded expansion plans, but it has bounced back, announcing 10 new destinations in the last year. Bosses predict a 20 per cent annual growth.
Peel Airports chairman Robert Hough said: “We have spent 10 years laying the foundations, airports are a long-term investment and we shouldn’t be hurried by short-term fluctuations in the economy. We are committed, our vision at the start was big and it is no different today. The link road is to pave the way for 24,000 jobs, 5,000 homes and £1.7bn of investment.