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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 April, 2005, 10:32 GMT 11:32 UK
Take-off at new Yorkshire airport
The first flight taking off
Thomsonfly operated the first flight from the airport
The first commercial flight has taken off from the UK's newest airport.

A Thursday morning service to Palma, Majorca marked the opening of Robin Hood Airport near Doncaster.

More than 600 people are already employed at the South Yorkshire site and the number is expected to rise to 7,000 within 10 years.

The new airport will offer flights to European destinations, plus from next year long-haul flights to Florida, Mexico and the Dominican Republic.

Within five years it is hoped it will be handling 2.3 million passengers travelling to destinations in 20 countries.

Terminal at Robin Hood Airport
It is claimed no expense has been spared on the terminal

RAF Finningley, which was used as a Bomber Command base during World War II and the Cold War, was closed in 1996 and bought by Peel in 1999.

The firm hopes the site, located seven miles from Doncaster, will also handle large quantities of freight.

At a news conference just before the first flight, airport chairman Robert Hough said: "The days of the bomber base may be over but today is the start of a new era with a lot more to come."

He added that Robin Hood Airport was the most challenging project the group his company has undertaken and he said no expense had been spared on the terminal.

Airport managing director David Ryall said: "We are aiming to become the `airport of choice' east of the Pennines for passengers and airlines alike."

But concerns about the environmental impact of Robin Hood Airport have been expressed by Friends of the Earth (FoE).

"The true cost of cheap flights for local communities around Finningley will be blaring aircraft noise, disturbed nights and overcrowded roads, " said FoE's aviation campaigner, Richard Dyer.

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