Doncaster Sheffield airport wins few prizes. It is a big shed planted at the former RAF station at Finningley in South Yorkshire, and is much handier for Doncaster (three miles) than Sheffield (20 miles, via Doncaster). But this summer, “DSA” has gained more international routes than any other airport in Britain.
At the start of the busiest summer ever for outbound aviation from the UK, I asked the airline routes expert, Ralph Anker, to calculate the winners and losers among Britain’s airports – using Cirium data and analytics to compare a peak week in August 2019 with the same week last summer.
“Doncaster Sheffield has a net gain of 12 destinations with new routes to eastern Europe, north Africa and Turkey,” says the author of The Anker Report (whose name conveniently stands for Airline Network Knowledge Expertise and Research).
The South Yorkshire airport is starting to mirror Luton as a key gateway to eastern Europe. Thirty years ago, when the Iron Curtain divided the continent, military planes had the then-Soviet cities of Riga in Latvia and Vilnius in Lithuania in their sights. Today, the Airbus jets of Wizz Air are carrying hundreds of passengers in peace to those capitals and many others.