It's one step closer to getting planes in the skies of Doncaster once more after international law firm Womble Bond Dickinson (WBD) helped advise the City's council on the agreement of a headlease for Doncaster Sheffield Airport.

A 125 year headlease has been completed by the City of Doncaster Council to take over the Airport site following over a year of discussions and negotiations with the existing landowner, The Peel Group, with the Council intending to sub-let the Airport site to a new operator.

The deal marks a landmark moment in the City's campaign to reopen the Airport following its closure in 2022 after 17 years of operation, which subsequently saw petitions with more than 100,000 signatures being delivered to the Department of Transport requesting its reopening.

A 19-strong team from WBD led by partners Nikki Jonas and Kevin Robertson from the firm's commercial property and projects and procurement teams respectively helped advise the Council on the transaction, advising across the headlease agreement itself but also on overall planning, procurement, grant funding, subsidy control, employment, and commercial aspects.

WBD will continue to advise the Council in its search for a new private sector operator to run the Airport over the coming months.

Nikki Jonas said: 

"It is an incredible honour to be able to assist the City of Doncaster Council with this significant milestone in the movement to bring flights back to Doncaster. This was an agreement not only with many moving parts, but one which required significant amounts of expertise across numerous sectors and legal specialisms which our team was uniquely positioned for.

The desire for a local airport within the area is clear to see through the passion of the community and particularly the council in working so tirelessly towards finalising this agreement, and it's exciting to see the renewed economic benefits and accessibility a revived Airport will bring and to play a part in that renewed push."

The agreement forms part of the Council's wider South Yorkshire Airport City programme to reopen the Airport, which saw more than 950,000 passengers filter through the Airport in 2022 alone according to figures from the CAA.

Mayor of Doncaster Ros Jones said: 

"This is a significant day in our ambition to reopen the Airport as the lease has been signed. 

I was determined to find a way to secure the future of aviation in Doncaster and this agreement helps us along the way to reopening our airport and seeing planes taking off once again. 

This is a major step in the reopening process. The next is appointing an operator and investor who will manage and develop the Airport. This process is well underway and I am optimistic that I can announce a partnership later in the spring."