Infratil may consider investing in changing use of Manston and Prestwick – to no longer be airports
Radio New Zealand has said Infratil would consider investing in its two British airports to change their functions to help make them more attractive to sell. It cannot sell either Prestwick or Manston, after they have underperformed (made losses) for years. Infratil executive Tim Brown said the company now has to look at a range of complex proposals and if the use of an airport is going to change, it will have ramifications for local communities. And if airports are struggling, then they may then either need subsidies or be closed and put to alternative use. There have been some (informal) suggestions that it might become theme park… solar farm… race track… nature reserve…houses ?
20.11.2012 No Night Flights
Manston and Prestwick have proved hard to sell. Unsurprisingly. Infratil wants to sell them because they’re failures – and that’s why they’re hard to sell.
Infratil has been losing millions every year, for years, and they’re eager to staunch the flow. The penny seems to have dropped that these two failed airports would be easier to sell… if they weren’t airports.
So Infratil is putting the word out that they’re prepared to stump up cash to help potential buyers transform the airports into, er, something they actually want to buy.
Do feel free to use the comments section [ No Night Flights ] to pass on any helpful suggestions for Manton’s future… theme park… solar farm… race track… nature reserve…
Copyright © 2012, Radio New Zealand 19 November 2012
Infratil says it would consider investing in its two British airports to change their functions to help make them more attractive to sell.
The listed infrastructure investor’s Glasgow Prestwick and Kent airports are for sale after years of underperformance.
Last week, Dutch national carrier KLM confirmed it would start making twice daily flights from the Kent airport to Amsterdam from April 2013.
Infratil executive Tim Brown says the process of selling the airports has taken longer than the company expected.
He says the company now has to look at a range of complex proposals and if the use of an airport is going to change, it will have ramifications for local communities.
Mr Brown says if airports are very successful then councils or cities often then tax them, but if they are struggling they may then either need subsidies or be closed and put to alternative use.
He says the debate then becomes more complicated, which makes timeframes more difficult to guess.
Mr Brown would neither confirm or deny whether Infratil is looking to buy Stanstead Airport in London.
Comments about possible future uses for Manston from No Night Flights:
Comments from AirportWatch members:
Views are definitely changing- Thanet Council’s Airport Working Party (AWP) last meeting asked the same question that CPRE Protect Kent has been asking, namely ” is there a legacy requirement for the runway to be kept open??”.
It may be that there isn’t, but it is possible (but probably unlikely, as searches have found nothing) that the Ministry of Defence put that as a condition of sale. The ATWP (Air Transport White Paper 2003) requires the Council to check the legal position of the runway, so we may find out, although council legal advice hasn’t always been too good in past…
The excellent No night flights website also has this analysis:
Length of journeys through Manston:
The extra time is spent sitting in airports, eating airport food, and eating into valuable holiday time. Even if the potential passengers of east Kent don’t realise this before they book, the odds are it’s not a mistake they’ll make twice. So much for repeat business. Manston is unlikely to deliver a steady stream of passengers wanting to connect to Air France-KLM’s international hubs.
Cost of KLM flights via Manston:
KLM to start twice daily flights from Manston to Amsterdam from April 2013
Date added: November 16, 2012
KLM has announced a new service from Manston to Amsterdam, twice a day. Manston says this will create 28 jobs in Kent. The attraction is that Amsterdam is a hub for some 130 other destinations. The airport did a survey in September to judge demand for a service to Amsterdam, and of the 9,300 responses some 80% said they would use a direct service to Amsterdam, with 60% then connecting with flights to other parts of Europe. Of those responding 96% said they would use Manston in preference to other airports – Gatwick is not far away. KLM is to run two morning flights from Manston, with one returning in mid-morning and the other in the evening. Infratil still cannot sell either Manston or Prestwick. Flybe pulled out of Manston in March saying flights from Kent were not economically viable. Manston has been valued at £7.6m. But Manston may cease to be an airport if it cannot be sold ….