LinksAir’s new route is between Belfast and Robin Hood Doncaster Sheffield Airport (Monday-Friday twice a day, and early evening on Sunday). It’s a relatively small airport (with 690,351 passengers and 11,197 take-offs and landings in 2013) and is dwarfed by Leeds Bradford (70 minutes drive north west) and Belfast City Airport. But it’s very convenient to Sheffield at a little under 20 miles to the east of the city centre. Originally the site of RAF Finningley, it was converted to a commercial airport in 2005. With a long runway it was one of the Space Shuttle emergency landing sites in the event of a Transoceanic Abort Landing.
Sheffield City’s own little airport was a different kettle of fish. As explained in a 2010 post which documented the path taken by hold baggage once you lose sight of it at Belfast City Airport check-in …
I remember travelling home through Sheffield Airport one evening about five or six years ago.
The conveyor belt at the side of the check-in desk didn’t move. Instead a man in overalls appeared and lifted my small case and carried it over to a door, went outside and loaded it by hand into the hold of the small aircraft.
Later, he held the same door open as a handful of us walked out to board the aircraft. And before the plane taxied back from its stand, he had changed into a fireman’s uniform and was heading towards the airfield’s fire truck.
A one man operation.
An airport with so little traffic that it didn’t have a radar! No surprise that Sheffield Airport ceased business at the end of April 2008.
The route between Belfast City and less compact and bijou Doncaster Sheffield started flying on Friday 11 April.
(Sheffield City Airport image from Wikipedia.)