#FlyDSA: Sheffield City Council chief '˜I've used Doncaster Sheffield Airport and it was great'
The chief executive of Sheffield City Council has urged people to '˜think Doncaster Sheffield Airport' whenever they fly.
John Mothersole said he was “noisy” on behalf of the site with strategic bodies such as Transport for the North and promoted it whenever he could.
The authority had also helped pay - through the City Region - for the Great Yorkshire Way link road which has been key to record passenger numbers.
But its continued growth depended on changing the lifelong habits of people who travelled outside the region to catch a plane.
Mr Mothersole, who revealed he was flying to Portugal from DSA in September, said: “Whether you’re a family or the chief executive of the council, we need to think Doncaster Sheffield Airport to get this tide rising.
“The millions of people who live within an hour’s drive need to get more in the habit of seeing it as their airport.
“I can’t tell them to use it, they’ll use if it has the right products. But I’ve used it and it was great.
“We are very fortunate it is owned by a company like Peel with its scale, experience and patience. Airports are a long term commitment, something Peel has shown in Liverpool and in its regeneration of Salford.
“There is nothing I’d like to see done differently, but it’s a long haul, no pun intended, and airports succeed through evolution.
“If people use it, it will gradually achieve milestones. Let’s get it to two million and continue that upward trend.”
DSA is forecast to reach 2.5m passengers-a-year in the next five years and 5m within the next decade - the threshold for long haul operators. No airport in Yorkshire currently has long haul services.
Mr Mothersole said the site had some major advantages including a huge runway, good climate and Aero Centre Yorkshire, 1,600 acres of surrounding land earmarked for development.
The last mile of the Great Yorkshire Way is under construction and will provide a major road from the M18 to its doorstep.
He added: “The airport can do freight as much as it can do passengers. It’s more than proven its ability when it took DHL flights from East Midlands recently.
“We promote it through our connections with regional bodies and keep pushing for it to appear on infrastructure maps of the North.
“It’s not at the scale that people naturally notice it and we have to be noisy until it can be noisy for itself.
“At the moment we are all feeling quite confident about the airport and we all share an ambition to see it grow.”
It might be the biggest local authority in the region, but Sheffield City Council is “not in the business of subsidising airports or running airlines,” according to chief executive Mr Mothersole.
But it could be interested in specific projects and proposals.
He added: “If asked to back it, we will back it.”