Aer Lingus has re-launched flights to Dublin - and North America - from Doncaster Airport with the warning: “use us or lose us again.”
The Irish flag carrier is starting a five times weekly service to Ireland in May - four years after it axed a similar service due to the recession and the Icelandic ash cloud which grounded flights across Europe for weeks.
The new service comes with a major attraction - onward links to four North American cities - New York, Chicago, Boston and Toronto. A pre-clearance system means travellers check their bags in at Doncaster and clear US immigration in Dublin, potentially avoiding huge queues.
Peter O’Mara, Aer Lingus Regional business development director, said they were returning due to the economic recovery and “intensive” lobbying by the airport over three years.
The FARRRS link road - set to slash half an hour off the journey time from Sheffield - would be a nice “add on” when it opens in January next year, he added.
He warned: “We are in it for the long term, but it’s a case of use us or lose us.”
Airport managing director Steve Gill said the announcement bolstered its efforts to be “credible.”
Passengers numbers are set to be up eight per cent to 760,000 in the year to April and 860,000 the year after he added.
Richard Wright, Sheffield Chamber of Commerce executive director, said the announcement justified the backing the region’s four chambers had given to the airport.
Jo Miller, Doncaster Council chief executive, said 100,000 Irish tourists visited Yorkshire every year and they were worth £20m to Sheffield City Region’s economy.