‘Aerotropolis’ vision could create 73,000 jobs

‘Aerotropolis’ vision could create 73,000 jobs

The vision aims to help the airport realise its full potential, delivering major international connectivity and economic benefit to Yorkshire and its surrounding regions, as well as the UK as a whole.

The vision lays out the creation of a highly sophisticated Aerotropolis in the Sheffield City Region with the airport’s 1600-acre site, known as Aero Centre Yorkshire, becoming a central hub.

The ‘airport city’ would help transform the North of England, creating 73,000 new jobs for the Sheffield City Region and provide exciting advanced manufacturing, logistics and aviation-led innovation opportunities.

It is anticipated that the Vision would deliver £3.2 billion GVA per year by 2048 across the region.

A key component of the Vision is the addition of an airport rail station connected to the East Coast Mainline; requiring only 7 miles of new track, it could be open in just five years’ time.

The station would provide a direct rail link to London and Newcastle in under 90 minutes travel time.

It would also be connected to major regional centres such as Sheffield, Leeds and Hull. Up to 9 million people living within a 90-minute journey time would have access to the airport by public transport, an increase of 6.6m.

The station proposal has received widespread support and has been recognised by stakeholders including Transport for the North, Network Rail and current train operators.

The station would serve the airport’s passengers, onsite workers, new housing and employment areas – an estimated 1.6 million people per year, by 2037.

Additionally, the rail station would accelerate the development of housing in the immediate vicinity and surrounding areas, with an initial delivery of over 8,500 houses anticipated.

Regional tourism would be also boosted, not only by an expanded airport but with the expansion and construction of major attractions close to the airport.

The Yorkshire Wildlife Park which is already set to grow to 1.5 million visitors, along with the conception of a new PGA golf course, both served by the airport station, would benefit. 

The Vision highlights the airport’s cargo plans in line with the increased passenger growth, as the site has the ability to handle up to 250,000 tonnes of cargo per year.

This would support the UK’s international trade at a time when no airports across the UK are significantly expanding cargo capacity.

The airport’s Masterplan detailing the future development of the current site and projected growth over the next 20 years will now go out for public consultation.

The airport is forecasting 4.7 million passengers and 70,000 tonnes per year over 20 years. Should a rail station be open by 2024, the expected passenger numbers would more than double to 11.8 million by 2050.

Robert Hough CBE, Chairman of Peel Airports said: “This is a Vision with a central pillar that delivers air connectivity, new housing, highly skilled employment, tourism and better rail connectivity at exceptional value for money, it is straightforward to build and deliverable in 5 years.

“It is of national significance for aviation and the economy, particularly the North, and we want to see it realised as soon as possible.

“This is required beyond what Heathrow expansion will deliver, with a range of benefits for the North and East of the country.”

Ros Jones CBE, mayor of Doncaster said: “Doncaster Sheffield Airport is a huge asset for Doncaster and we are committed to making it a big success. 

“This Vision shows how the airport can be an integral part of the local community, a place to live, work and travel. 

“The size of the economic prize within this Vision is unrivalled and will be a long lasting contributor to the rebalancing of our economy.

Nigel Brewster, vice-chair of the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said: “I would urge residents, businesses, and politicians from all parties to get behind these ambitious yet deliverable plans for our airport, which include connecting it with the East Coast Mainline.

“Doncaster Sheffield Airport and its partners have a clear aim in mind and tangible plans in place to make it a reality.

“Doncaster Sheffield Airport is central to the city region achieving its economic plan of 70,000 additional jobs, an additional 3.1bn GVA and 6,000 new businesses.

“We have always seen the growth of the airport as being a key priority, but no one ‘actor’ can make this growth happen.

“We must come together with Peel, Doncaster Council, and Transport for the North - and the city region must also do our own part through investment in local transport infrastructure.”

Jonathan Spruce, strategy director, Transport for the North added: “Doncaster Sheffield Airport’s Vision would see it unlock significant passenger and cargo capacity and could create a major economic cluster, supporting the transformation of the North of England economy. 

“We are currently consulting on our draft Strategic Transport Plan for the North which identifies DSA as a key economic centre and we recognise the need for enhanced rail access to DSA.”


  • Capacity of 25 million passengers and 250,000 tonnes of cargo per year
  • Creation of up to 73,000 new jobs
  • £3.2 billion GVA per year by 2048
  • Single piece of new infrastructure required – rail station connected to the East Coast
  • Mainline for £170 million, could be open in 5 years with passenger numbers to the airport expected to be 11.8 million by 2050

Masterplan 2018 – 2037

  • Airport passenger numbers increased to 4.7 million per year by 2037
  • Cargo operation increase to 70,000 tonnes per year by 2037
  • Terminal size to double with increased facilities for passengers
  • Up to 3000 new homes to be built on site with new retail, hotel and leisure complex
  • 5.5 million sq ft of employment space
  • £238 million boost to the tourism economy for the region       
  • £3.7 billion GVA by 2037

Published: 21 March 2018

Article by Chris Middleton
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