It’s all systems go for Robin Hood’s merry men
The LSG Sky Chefs team working on Thomsonfly departures from Doncaster Sheffield have played their own small part in history – as suppliers to the UK’s newest purpose-built international airport.
Robin Hood Airport at Doncaster Sheffield officially opened for business in April, with flights in its first few months heading to more than 30 destinations across 20 different countries.
The airport, which is situated in the heart of the Yorkshire and Humber region, expects to expand rapidly from its initial customer base of 1.3 million passengers.
LSG Sky Chefs’ work at the new airport has initially been handled by a team seconded across from the group’s Manchester unit, supported by drivers recruited locally from the Doncaster area.
Operations Supervisor Greg Miller and his team watched with pride as TOM521, a Thomsonfly Boeing 737, became the first aircraft to depart from Robin Hood Airport on April 28. Carrying 149 passengers, it headed for Palma, Majorca – and opened a new chapter in UK aviation history.
The take-off followed months of planning by the LSG Sky Chefs team, which also included Assistant Operations Supervisor Anthony Burrell as well as team members Paul Folly, Matty McCormack, Matthew Snowden, Martyn Sharpe and Gary Mattocks.
For the initial period LSG Sky Chefs has operated its catering and stores from the group’s East Midlands unit, with supplies taken along the M1 motorway by refrigerated trailer. Supplies are then kept in a ‘holding chiller’ until ready to be loaded on to each individual aircraft.
Greg Miller explained: “As expected, being involved in a start-up operation such as this has proved hectic on occasions. Much of our time has been spent in liaising with our new customers and other service providers at the airport. With the support of the great team we have here, life has quickly settled into a very efficient routine.”
He added: “We’re delighted to have established an excellent working relationship with Thomsonfly, the management team at Doncaster Sheffield airport and other service providers on site.”
Robin Hood Airport made history as the UK’s newest purpose-built international airport after it was decided to develop the site of the former RAF Finningley airbase, which was famous for its military air displays.
The creation of a new commercial airport has received enthusiastic support from large areas of the population, including local residents, the business community and the UK’s aviation sector.
With one of the longest runways in the north of England, Robin Hood Airport has the capacity to handle charter, scheduled, long-haul, freight, general and business aviation internationally.
Its customers are drawn from across the Yorkshire and Humber region, including the nearby cities of Sheffield, Leeds, York, Lincoln and Hull, together with towns such as Doncaster, Rotherham, Barnsley and Grimsby.
The start-up at Robin Hood Airport formed part of an expansion of an existing contract between Thomsonfly and LSG Sky Chefs, with the group now catering to the airline’s flights out of Bournemouth, Doncaster Sheffield and Coventry.
Under the new arrangements, Buy on Board services are being provided by LSG Sky Chefs’ Manchester unit to Boeing 737s departing from Doncaster Sheffield and by the group’s London-Gatwick unit to Boeing 737s flying out of Bournemouth.
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