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Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield
Doncaster Sheffield Airport
DSA logo.png
Robin Hood Airport 2006-04-02.jpg
Airport type Public
Operator Doncaster Sheffield Airport Limited/Peel Airports
Serves South Yorkshire
Location Finningley, South Yorkshire
Hub for
Elevation AMSL 55 ft / 17 m
Coordinates 53°28′29″N 001°00′16″W / 53.47472°N 1.00444°W / 53.47472; -1.00444 (Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield)
Direction Length Surface
m ft
02/20 2,893 9,491 Asphalt
Statistics (2009)
Aircraft Movements 10,584
Passengers 835,768
Sources: UK AIP at NATS[1]
Statistics from the UK Civil Aviation Authority[2]

Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield (IATA: DSAICAO: EGCN) is an international airport located at the former RAF Finningley airbase at Finningley, in the Metropolitan Borough of Doncaster within South Yorkshire, England. The airport lies 3 NM (5.6 km; 3.5 mi)[1] southeast of Doncaster and 18 mi (29 km) east of Sheffield.

The airport is operated by Peel Holdings, which also owns Liverpool John Lennon Airport, Durham Tees Valley Airport, City Airport Manchester and the former Sheffield City Airport (which closed in April 2008). Handling around 840,000 passengers in 2009, the airport is Yorkshire's second largest airport, after Leeds Bradford Airport.[2]

Doncaster Sheffield Airport has a CAA Public Use Aerodrome Licence (Number P876) that allows flights for the public transport of passengers or for flying instruction.



The Airport owes its origins to military aviation, having been founded as Finningley Airfield in 1915.

During the First World War, it was used as a base by the Royal Flying Corps from which to intercept German Zeppelins attacking the industrial cities of the north. During the 1939-45 conflict, however, the airfield was used primarily for training purposes, serving as a finishing school for new crews of the larger aircraft in Bomber Command, with only a few combat missions leaving from Finningley.

The Cold War saw the airfield's importance rise as it was used as a base for nuclear-armed Vulcan bombers, though training once again became the priority in the 1970s and 1980s before it was decommissioned in 1995.

The low-cost flights revolution gave the airfield a new lease of life and, spotting high passenger demand within the region, it was reopened with a new name in April 2005.[3][4]

The airport's opening was marked by the first commercial flight, destined for Palma de Mallorca in Majorca, which departed at 0915 on 28 April 2005.[5] The airport expected to see at least one million passengers during 2006. Three months after opening the airport had handled 300,000 passengers, by December 2005 the figure had risen to 500,000 and within 60 weeks of opening the airport had cumulatively handled over 1 million passengers. The figure for calendar year 2006 was over 899,000, making the airport the 23rd largest in the UK. As of August 2007 the airport had handled 2.28 million passengers since opening.

Long haul flights to North America commenced in summer 2007, with flyglobespan operating to Hamilton (Toronto), and Thomsonfly to Orlando, Cancún and Puerto Plata, however all these routes have since been discontinued.

The majority of flights at the airport are operated by Thomson Airways, Wizz Air, Ryanair and Flybe.

In December 2009, EasyJet announced it would begin operating flights at the airport to Amsterdam, Barcelona, Faro, Palma de Mallorca and Prague from April 2010. The airline stated that the flights are expected to carry 300,000 passengers in the first year of operation.[6]


The Airport currently has a single runway designated 02/20, with a length of 2,893 m (9,491 ft) and a width of 60 m (197 ft), making it longer and wider than those at many other airports in northern England. This stems from the airport's history as a former long-range nuclear bomber base (see RAF Finningley), and makes the airport suitable for wide-bodied, long-haul or cargo-carrying aircraft. There is significant room at the airport for further passenger and cargo capacity expansion in the future.

Part of the Airport site is being developed into a Business and Technology Park which could potentially be linked with the M18 motorway via a link road at Junction 3[citation needed].

A Ramada Encore chain hotel opened on 10 November 2008, with a 102 bed capacity.[7] Work is also progressing on a new 62-acre (250,000 m2) business park across from the terminal, which will link to the access road into the airport.

Defence giant BAE Systems operates its Aircraft Maintenance Academy from No. 3 Hangar at the airport.

Airlines and destinations


Airlines Destinations
Aer Lingus Regional operated by Aer Arann Dublin [begins 28 March]
EasyJet Amsterdam [begins 19 April], Barcelona [begins 19 April], Faro [begins 19 April], Palma de Mallorca [begins 20 April], Prague [begins 20 April]
Flybe Belfast-City, Jersey
Ryanair Alicante [seasonal]
Thomson Airways Alicante, Antalya [seasonal], Bodrum [seasonal], Burgas [seasonal], Corfu [seasonal], Dalaman [seasonal], Faro [seasonal], Heraklion [seasonal], Ibiza [seasonal], Kos [seasonal], Lanzarote [seasonal], Larnaca [seasonal], Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Málaga, Minorca [seasonal], Monastir, Palma de Mallorca, Paphos, Reus [seasonal], Rhodes [seasonal], Sharm el-Sheikh, Tenerife-South, Zakynthos [seasonal]
Wizz Air Gdańsk, Katowice, Poznań, Warsaw, Wrocław


Airlines Destinations
BH Air Burgas [seasonal]
Onur Air Dalaman [seasonal]
Thomas Cook Airlines Dalaman [seasonal]

Cargo flights

The airport currently handles occasional one-off ad hoc freight flights, using aircraft such as the A300, DC10, MD11, Boeing 747 and Antonov 124.

There is space and infrastructure in place from RAF Finningley for further development of cargo services, however as of 2008 the airport does not have a dedicated freight forwarder on site.

Flight training

The Airport is home to Sheffield City Flying School and Alpha Helicopters which both moved to Doncaster Sheffield Airport following the closure of the runway at Sheffield City Airport (now Sheffield City Airport & Heliport). Pilot training courses are available.


In 2007 over 1 million passengers used the airport, an increase of nearly 14% on the 2006 total of 948,017, however statistics for 2008 showed a 10% decline in passenger numbers to around 970,000.

Number of Passengers[8] Number of Movements[9] Passengers Change YoY
2005 600,907 5,380 -
2006 948,017 7,591 57.8%
2007 1,078,374 8,754 13.8%
2008 968,481 7,426 10.2%
2009 835,768 6,145 13.7%
Source: UK Civil Aviation Authority[10]
10 Busiest Current Routes out of Doncaster Sheffield Airport (2009)
Rank Airport Passengers handled 2008-2009 Change Airlines that serve(d)
1  Spain - Alicante Airport 101,444 10% Ryanair, Thomson Airways
2  Spain - Malaga Airport 63,764 22% Thomson Airways
3  Poland - Katowice Airport 62,238 6% Wizz Air
4  Spain - Girona-Costa Brava Airport 50,960 25% Thomson Airways
5  Poland - Gdańsk Airport 47,891 13% Wizz Air
6  Spain - Tenerife South Airport 47,217 4% Thomson Airways
7  Spain - Palma Airport 45,110 8% Thomson Airways
8  Poland - Poznań-Ławica Airport 42,217 37% Wizz Air
9  Poland - Warsaw Airport 41,130 41% Wizz Air
10  Portugal - Faro Airport 33,521 21% Thomson Airways
Source: UK Civil Aviation Authority [2]

Ground transport


The Airport is located close to the M18 motorway, but currently has no direct link road. A direct motorway road link from Junction 3 of the M18 to the airport is planned and is expected to open by 2010.[11] Also nearby are the A1(M) Motorway, M62 motorway and M1 motorway. There is also a connection from Junction 34 of the A1(M) motorway. The airport has over 2,500 car parking spaces[12].


Doncaster station is 7 mi (11 km) from the airport. Doncaster is 1 hour 35 minutes from London Kings Cross or 30 minutes from Leeds City in the opposite direction. Sheffield station can be reach in 20 minutes by using direct services. Several direct bus services link Doncaster station with the airport.

In addition, the airport lies alongside the Doncaster to Lincoln railway line, and plans for a station at Finningley to replace that closed in 1961 have been submitted for local planning permission. Doncaster Council are now considering this with a target opening date of 2011[13].


There are regular bus services linking the airport with Doncaster, Barnsley, Retford, Worksop and other surrounding areas.

The airport in the media

During its first few years of operation, Robin Hood Airport has featured in the media, in particular numerous articles on its status as the UK's newest international airport have seen it become part of the debate into air tourism and environmental issues. On 24 January 2007, the airport featured in the BBC Two documentary Should I Really Give Up Flying?, with Doncaster actor Brian Blessed fronting local opinions on the issue.

Robin Hood Airport has also been a filming location for popular television series such as ITV's Emmerdale[14] and BBC drama Hustle [15]

Robin Hood Airport is also the joint sponsor, along with Thomsonfly, of ITV News Regional Weather in South Yorkshire.

The airport name

The name is now often simply referred to on travel websites and on other literature as Doncaster/Sheffield Airport or Doncaster Airport, even though the official name is Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield. It was renamed 'Robin Hood' based on the following local information:

  1. The original Robin Hood legends are set in Barnsdale Forest, the area of South Yorkshire which surrounded Doncaster and Pontefract.
  2. This legend is reinforced by the fact that the village pub in nearby Hatfield Woodhouse has always been known as the Robin Hood and Little John
  3. The Airport has a historical connection to Nottinghamshire (as the parish of Finningley was, until 1974 and the Local Government Act 1972, administered as part of Nottinghamshire) and still resides in the boundary of the Diocese of Nottingham.[16]
  4. The Runway extension (completed in 1957) to accommodate Vulcan bombers, extended the airfield into the county of Nottinghamshire.
  5. Some later Robin Hood legends - and the popular 20th century books, fims and TV programmes are set in Sherwood Forest.[17]
  6. The Metropolitan Borough of Doncaster is closer to what is left of Sherwood Forest than the City of Nottingham is.[18]
  7. The forests of Sherwood and Barnsdale merged in this area of Yorkshire.[19]
  8. The name would provide an identity which would raise a lot of attention (if a little controversy) for the Airport and create a marketing opportunity.[20]
  9. The Airport name has caused media controversy as Robin Hood has not during the 20th century been regularly associated with Doncaster; despite the Barnsdale legends, and the references to Robin Hood in pub names such as the aforementioned Robin Hood and Little John. Many citizens of Nottingham feel that Robin Hood should be the icon of their City alone (despite the fact that it was the Sheriff that came from Nottingham).

Names that were then suggested by people of the borough and surrounding areas included:

  • Doncaster International Airport
  • South Yorkshire International Airport
  • Finningley International Airport

Visitors may refer to the airport as 'Robin Hood' or Doncaster/Sheffield Airport; longstanding local residents may refer to the airport as 'Finningley'; otherwise the Airport is referred to as Doncaster Airport.

In terms of aviation communication, the airport is known as Doncaster (Doncaster Radar, Doncaster Tower etc.)


External links

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