Manston Airport News

Some recent news about Manston Airport:

Local campaign group is Campaign Against the Re-opening of Manston Airport
and news about Manston (Kent) at   NO Night Flights  Blog site    

Independent assessors for Manston expansion plans say there is no need for the extra air freight capacity

The Development Consent Order (DCO) for the re-opening and development of Manston as a freight airport was rejected by the High Court in February 2021. This was after Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps, in July 2020 had decided to ignore the advice of the Planning Inspectorate (PI) in October 2019, that the DCO should be rejected.  Grant Shapps said it should go ahead, but the court said there had not been enough detail for reasons to go against the advice of the PI.  Grant Shapps then had to “re-determine” the DCO application, and people could submit reasons to the PI for why the airport proposal should be refused. A team was set up as “independent assessor” to investigate the justification for the airport’s expansion, and report back to Mr Shapps.  The team’s report has now been published.  It concludes that “the levels of freight that the Proposed Development could expect to handle are modest and could be catered for at existing airports … Manston appears to offer no obvious advantages to outweigh the strong competition that such airports offer. ...the Applicant has failed to demonstrate sufficient need for the Proposed Development”. Further submissions are welcomed until 19th November.

Click here to view full story…

Update from Jenny Dawes, from the local campaign.  11th July 2021

The DCO for the re-opening and development of Manston Airport was quashed in February. It took until June for the Secretary of State for Transport to issue the attached Statement of Matters setting out the four areas on which he was inviting further submissions from Interested Parties. We were given four weeks to respond.

An “independent aviation assessor” has been appointed and a report summarising his findings will be published on the PINS website

Once the assessor’s report and all submissions are published there will be a further 28 days for Interested Parties to comment. It’s a long process with no indication of when the Secretary of State will re-determine the application for a DCO.

The list of questions is interesting but basically – what’s changed in the last year? We’d argue that a lot has changed but nothing that makes Manston any more viable or desirable. York Aviation, who delivered two reports for the previous site owners, stand by everything in those reports.

Jenny’s solicitors, Harrison Grant, instructed an independent expert, as did Ramsgate town they have done everything they can, and it just a matter of waiting for an uncertain outcome.

The Transport Sec of State, Shapps, has to re-determine the DCO application of Manston airport. People had until 9th July 2021 to inform the Planning Inspectorate of any matters the Sec of State must now take into account, eg. national or local policies.

11th June 2021

Deadline for submissions – 9th July – for Transport Sec of State re-determination of Manston DCO

RiverOak Strategic Partners (RSP) have been trying for a long time to turn Manston back into a functioning freight airport.  The development has to go through the DCO process.  In July 2020, DfT Sec of State Grant Shapps, decided to ignore the Planning Inspectorate’s advice, and allow the DCO. This was then legally challenged by local campaigner, Jenny Dawes.  In February a High Court judge ruled that the DCO had been quashed, because the decision approval letter issued from the Minister of State did not contain enough detail about why approval was given against the advice of the Planning Inspectorate and said the Judicial Review would not be contested. Now the DfT says the DCO will be re-determined, and people have until the 9th July to submit more evidence. The Secretary of State is now asking for more evidence on the extent to which current national or local policies (including any changes since 9 July 2020) such as the re-instatement of the ANPS, future level of demand, future benefits, other material matters, and the extent to which the Secretary of State should, have regard to the Sixth carbon budget (covering the years between 2033 – 2037).

Click here to view full story…

Good Law project, Dale Vince and George Monbiot start legal proceedings to force Government to suspend & review ANPS

In just months, a Government policy – the Airports National Policy Statement (ANPS) – that pre-dates the Net Zero commitments in the Climate Change Act. could form the basis for a decision to expand Manston Airport in Kent.  Government has refused to say whether a decision on Heathrow expansion will be made under the ANPS but, with an application for a development consent order (DCO) on Manston imminent, the Good Law project hopes it can force its hand – on Manston and on Heathrow. The ANPS is inconsistent with government commitment to tackle the climate crisis. Though the Supreme Court, in December 2020, ruled that the ANPS was legal, it is necessary for the government to suspend and review it. Now the Good Law project, with Dale Vince and George Monbiot, have issued a pre-action protocol letter to the government legal department, asking for the ANPS to be suspended and reviewed. Not only would proper updating of the ANPS prevent expansion of Manston and Heathrow, it would do the same for others in the pipeline – Southampton, Leeds Bradford, Bristol, Stansted and Gatwick. Now government has agreed to include international aviation in carbon budgets, and a 78% cut in UK CO2 emissions by 2035, there is even greater urgency for correct UK aviation policy.

Click here to view full story…

Manston DCO officially quashed – fresh decision from Sec of State only way the freight airport could proceed

Manston airport becoming a freight airport is the first Development Consent Order (DCO) for an airport. The Planning Inspectorate (PI) advised the DfT that plans should be rejected in October 2019. The DfT then wanted more information about the plans, from the airport developers, RiverOak Strategic Partners (RSP).  In July 2020, Sec of State Grant Shapps, for the DfT decided to ignore the PI’s advice, and allow the DCO. This was then legally challenged by local campaigner, Jenny Dawes, and the challenge was allowed to go ahead, in October 2020. By December the Grant Shapps had agreed that his decision approval letter did not contain enough detail about why approval was given against the advice of the PI – so the DCO was quashed. Now on 15th February a High Court judge has ruled that the DCO is quashed.  The Defendant (Secretary of State for Transport) and RSP will pay Jenny Dawes’ “reasonable costs” up to £70,000. Grant Shapps, will now need to issue a renewed decision on the DCO.  If there is another DCO similar to the original, the same arguments against it still stand, based on need, breach of procedural requirements, and the Net Zero carbon duty.  If he decides against another DCO, then RSP may bring another legal challenge, or give up.

Manston Airport is the first ever proposed airport development to go through the DCO examination process, and the claim was the first challenge to an airport DCO. It is understood that the DCO is the first grant of consent for a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) to be quashed since the introduction of the Planning Act 2008.

Click here to view full story…

It’s confirmation by the Court of the announcement late last year that Government would not contest it in court. Although the decision is quashed, the Government still needs to determine the DCO application so it will need to issue another decision (so it’s gone back to the pre-decision page):
“The Secretary of State must now re-determine that application. Further details on the re-determination process will be published here in due course.”

Update from Jenny Dawes – who brought the legal challenge against the government’s Manston decision

4th December 2020

Following the quashing of the Manston Airport Development Consent Order 2020 by the Court, the Secretary of State will write to all interested parties, setting out key issues and inviting further written representations on those issues.

Interested parties include the applicant, the local authority and anyone who previously registered by filling out a Relevant Representation form at the inquiry stage (and had it accepted as valid).

The Secretary of State will make a decision based on the Examining Authority’s Report and the further representations. The Secretary of State has three months to make a decision but this can be extended.

The decision could be either a refusal to make a Manston Airport Development Consent Order or a decision to grant such a Consent Order.

If a DCO is refused, RiverOak Strategic Partners (RSP) may wish to bring a judicial review. I would be an Interested Party in any such challenge.

If a DCO is granted, another judicial review can be brought on the existing grounds and any further grounds that may arise on review of the decision letter.

Manston airport development DCO approval ‘to be quashed’ by government – with decision for refusal, by Planning Inspectorate, to be re-examined later

A hearing in February set for the legal challenge over the government’s decision to give permission for the development of Manston airport into an air freight hub will now not take place. The Secretary of State for Transport has said they will not contest the case.  The substantive hearing – which involves the lodging of  evidence from the defendant, and interested party (RiverOak Strategic Partners Ltd) – was to assess whether the Government followed correct procedure in reaching the decision to approve the DCO for the landowners, even though this overturned the recommendation of the Planning Inspectorate (PI). Now the DfT has acknowledged that the decision approval letter issued from the Minister of State did not contain enough detail about why approval was given against the advice of the PI.  This means the DCO approval for Manston airport will be quashed. It the development of Manston airport is to happen, it will require a new decision to be issued, after a re-examination of the Planning Inspectorate evidence. RiverOak Strategic Partners Ltd, will not be defending their claim. The Treasury Solicitor will now draft an order disposing of the case.  The order will have to be approved by all parties and submitted to the Court to be sealed – this final step may take several weeks.

Click here to view full story…

Update on Judicial Review of Manston Airport DCO.

The Court has now listed a 1.5 day substantive hearing for 16-17 February 2021, of the case which has been brought by the remarkable Jenny Dawes. Info about the case at

Manston airport judicial review: permission granted for legal challenge

A judge has granted permission for a legal challenge against the government’s decision to reopen Manston airport. The crowdfunder set up to help pay for a judicial review has now reached more than £80,000. Now the application for the review has been granted, the Secretary of State’s decision in July to approve a development consent order to open Manston as a freight cargo air hub will be challenged in court. The legal battle was launched by Jenny Dawes, the chair of Ramsgate Coastal Community Team. Solicitors Kate Harrison and Susan Ring of Harrison Grant are acting for her, and instructing barristers Richard Wald QC and Gethin Thomas. The reasons for opposing the reopening of the airport for freight are partly due to the noise, as the arrival flight path is directly over Ramsgate, near the airport. There are also strong arguments on air pollution and the UK’s climate targets. The advice of the Planning Inspectorate was to refuse permission for DCO. Jenny said:  “According to the government’s own experts, re-opening the airport will damage the local economy and impact negatively on the UK’s carbon budget and our commitments to the Paris climate agreement.”

Click here to view full story…

Well done to the No Night Flights Over Ramsgate group, and all those who have worked hard to bring this about & everyone who has contributed ££.

Challenge to Manston airport DCO – barristers from 39 Essex Chambers, and Harrison Grant solicitors

Paul Stinchcombe QC, Richard Wald QC and Gethin Thomas are instructed by Kate Harrison and Susan Ring of Harrison Grant LLP in a judicial review of the Secretary of State for Transport’s decision to approve the re-opening of Manston Airport, as a dedicated freight airport. In so deciding, the Secretary of State overturned the recommendation of the Examining Authority [the Planning Inspectorate] to refuse development consent. They act on behalf of Jenny Dawes, a local resident who participated in the examination. Manston Airport has been disused since it was formally closed in 2014. The claim, issued on 19th August, contends that the Secretary of State’s analysis of the need for the development was flawed, and that moreover, the Secretary of State failed to discharge his duty to ensure that the net UK carbon account for the year 2050 is at least 100% lower than the 1990 baseline (“Net Zero”), under section 1 of the Climate Change Act 2008.

Click here to view full story…

19th August 2020

Judicial review challenge to Manston Airport DCO issued today – Kate Harrison & Susan Ring of @HGLegal    instructing Paul Stinchcombe QC, Richard Wald QC & Gethin Thomas in Judicial Review of Sec State’s decision to approve re-opening of Manston Airport, as dedicated freight airport.

The claim has today been issued at the High Court: the Defendant & Interested Party (RSP) now have until 11 Sept to file an acknowledgement of service indicating whether they wish to contest the claim and, if so, setting out their summary grounds for doing so

Pre-action letter urging Secretary of State to overturn Manston Airport decision is rejected

A pre-action letter demanding the government’s decision to reopen Manston Airport be overturned has been rejected by the Secretary of State for Transport.  Campaigner Jenny Dawes, who has launched a bid to stop the former airfield near Ramsgate becoming a freight cargo air hub, sent the letter to MP Grant Shapps, but he has refused to reverse the approval.

She says in light of this, she is now preparing for a legal battle, with her team – solicitors Kate Harrison and Susan Ring of Harrison Grant – getting ready to submit an application next week for a judicial review.   If the review is granted, the decision by Mr Shapps to approve a development consent order to open Manston as a cargo hub will be challenged in court.

A crowdfunder launched by Ms Dawes last month to help fund the fight has reached £65,120 in pledges.

She says the pre-action letter setting out the draft grounds for judicial review was sent to the Secretary of State, who had 14 days to respond. “The next step is to issue the claim at court and apply for permission to bring proceedings,” she said.  “This will be served on the Secretary of State as the Defendant and the developer as an Interested Party. All this must be done by August 20.”   To see the crowdfunder click here.

Concerns about proposed flight paths in and out of Manston when (if) it reopens for air freight

Development consent was finally granted in July, by the government, for a freight air cargo hub at Manston. The Thanet site is owned by RiverOak Strategic Partners (RSP) which now has to complete the various stages of the Civil Aviation Authority CAP 1616 process for airspace change. RiverOak is currently on ‘stage 2’, known as the develop and access gateway.  But CARMA, the Campaign Against the Reopening of Manston Airport, has questioned the lack of transparency of the process so far.  They have drawn particular focus on the planned flight paths, claiming 30 towns and villages will be impacted. There are illustrations of some proposed flight paths, arrivals and departures, in the RSP documents. These show many areas of east Kent being overflown, for the first time.  CARMA is very concerned that these routes have been drawn up, without information for, or consultation with, the public.  Relevant community representatives have not been being properly informed. At the best of times, the CAA flight path alteration process is difficult for laypeople to understand, with “CAP1616 process” and “design options” and “airspace design principles” and “technical and operational interdependencies” among other bits of jargon, which are not written in “plain English.”

Click here to view full story…

Plan for cargo hub at Manston Airport seriously flawed, says consultant

An aviation consultant, Peter Forbes (from Alan Strafford & Associates) has joined a group which believes the attempt to turn Manston airport into a cargo hub is seriously flawed.  Mr Forbes believes RSP sees the only real value in the land as housing or industrial development.  Its plans, even if they ever worked out, would be in addition to cargo flights at East Midlands, which handles the second largest tonnage in the UK after Heathrow.  Mr Forbes also questioned the jobs figures that the airport is claiming, and its location, “The key disadvantage of Manston is its location at the extreme south-east corner of the UK and its poor surface access. Historic traffic levels at the airport have generally been modest. “The increased onward distribution times at Manston are particularly relevant for perishable goods, which comprise a significant proportion of all dedicated freighter cargo. In addition, the inability to offer night flights at the airport, which is a condition …, will be a significant constraint for the development of a freight hub, particularly for main international freight package couriers such as Fedex, UPS and DHL.”  Two other aviation consultants, York Aviation and AviaSolutions, have also apparently said the airport is not viable.

Click here to view full story…

Government grants Manston DCO to allow the airport to re-open, against Planning Inspectorate recommendation

Manston has been closed as an airport since May 2014. It is the first airport to have to take its plans through the DCO (Development Consent Order) process, dependant on the Airports National Policy Statement (ANPS). It always failed as an airport in the past, largely due to its location. In October 2019, the Planning Inspector recommended to the Secretary of State for Transport that Manston should not be re-opened. The decision was then for transport minister Andrew Stephenson, “with the secretary of state, Grant Shapps, recused to avoid any conflict of interest.”  He has now given approval to the DCO for the airport to re-open, for cargo and even passengers – overruling the Planning Inspectorate (PINS). The airport claims it could open by 2023, handling up to 10,000 cargo flights a year as well as passenger services, with construction starting as early as 2021. There is huge opposition to the plans, due to noise and air pollution. The approach path from the east is directly over Ramsgate, about 2 miles from the airport. PINS had said opening Manston would have “a material impact on the ability of government to meet its carbon reduction targets”. The ANPS is currently not valid, awaiting a Supreme Court hearing on 7th and 8th October.

Click here to view full story…

Manston DCO decision postponed to May – but would be the first since the Appeal Court ruling on climate impact

Though it has not had much publicity outside east Kent, the application to turn Manston  (which has been closed as an airport since May 2014) into a freight airport could be an important case. It was the first airport to have to take its plans through the DCO (Development Consent Order) process, dependant on the Airports National Policy Statement (ANPS). Manston is a crazy place to have a freight airport, being at the north eastern tip of Kent, miles from anywhere. It always failed as an airport in the past, largely due to its location. The Heathrow runway has been blocked by the Court of Appeal, which ruled (27th March)  the ANPS is illegal, as it did not take carbon emissions into account properly. That has implications for Manston’s plans. Already before the Court judgment, the Manston DCO had been delayed from 18th January, to 18th May.  The initial DCO application had nothing on carbon emissions. Something was finally added, because of pressure from local campaigners. Now lawyers say the decision about Manston’s DCO could have implications for other airport DCOs in future including Gatwick and Luton, as well as Heathrow.

Click here to view full story…

Good article about the Manston case at

Delay till May for Shapps to decide whether to allow Manston Development Consent Order (“DCO”)

The decision by the DfT on whether to re-open Manston as an airport again for air cargo has been delayed for four months. It had been expected on 18th January.  The airport has been closed since 2014. RiverOak Strategic Partners, the consortium behind the scheme, had applied for the airport to be considered as a nationally significant infrastructure project. Having had 3 months to digest the Planning Inspectorates’ report, the DfT now want more information from RiverOak by 31 January. The Secretary of State (SoS) Grant Shapps has set a new deadline of 18 May 2020 for the decision to be made. The Aviation Strategy is expected before summer recess, with the DfT consultation on climate imminent, so the DfT are giving themselves until May to avoid shooting themselves in the foot on carbon, as they did with Flybe.  RiverOak are trying to argue that Manston could be successful on cargo, as “the air freight market is ripe for an alternative to the overcrowded London airports system”. Some people in the area are hoping Manston could provide jobs; others are deeply concerned about the noise from old freighter aircraft during the night, flying over residential areas (the approach path is right over Ramsgate).

Click here to view full story…

Manston airport decision before long, after Planning Inspectorate sends recommendation to Grant Shapps

Government planners, the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) , have made their decision on whether a bid to reopen Manston Airport as a cargo hub should be backed. The recommendations have been sent to Transport Secretary of State (SoS) Grant Shapps, who  has 3 months to decide whether to grant planning permission to site owners RiverOak Strategic Partners (RSP) in the form of a Development Consent Order (DCO). The decision is made the SoS because the airport re-opening is considered a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) which is not decided by a local authority. It the SoS approves the plans, the owners RSP will probably use the airport primarily for air cargo.  In July Stone Hill, the site’s previous owners, agreed to sell the land to RSP for £16.5m, instead of their plan to build up to 3,700 homes on it.  The tonnage of air freight has risen by only 11% in the UK in the past 10 years, with most going through Heathrow. But RSP says “there has been continuing growth in the air freight cargo market, driven chiefly by the increase in e-commerce and … e-fulfillment…”  Manston re-opening will be strenuously opposed by local people, largely to noise over Ramsgate, from old, noisy freighters, often at night.

Click here to view full story…

Manston airport has another possible chance to take cargo planes in future

Manston, once named as Kent International, was shut down four years ago. Plans to turn it into a cargo airport will be subjected to a public inquiry.  An application to upgrade the airfield and reopen it primarily as a cargo airport was accepted by the government’s Planning Inspectorate.  Its ambitions to be a cargo airport come from the days when it was touted as a viable alternative to Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted when, for a time, it traded under the name Kent International Airport. It was used by old, noisy and often clapped-out planes, that caused serious noise nuisance to residents of Ramsgate, where houses are situated on the approach path, almost up to the airport – and planes flew at night. The plans put forward by Riveroak Strategic Partners, Manston’s proposed operator, must first be subjected to a public inquiry in which local people can express their views. Cargo could perhaps be transferred onto the road system, from the airport. But its location, so far out to the north east of Kent, is far from ideal for any sort of airport.  In 2012, Flybe and KLM launched services from Manston in the mistaken belief that it could be a passenger airport.

Click here to view full story…

Public meeting (4th Feb 2017) aims to prove HOW Manston can be a viable aviation site

4.1.2017 (Kent Live)

Thanet Liberal Democrats have organised the event. The local plan – a blueprint for housing, business and infrastructure up to 2031 – suggests designating Manston airport for mixed use development Details at

Manston airport: Transport Secretary Chris Grayling ‘would be perfectly supportive’ of reopening the runway

16 September 2016

by Chris Pricecprice (Kent Messenger)

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said the Government “would be perfectly supportive” of plans to reopen Manston airport as a cargo hub as he was quizzed in the House of Commons.

The minister did not completely endorse proposals to reopen the runway when answering a question by Sir Roger Gale, the MP for Thanet North, on Thursday.

Sir Roger had asked the Transport Secretary whether he supported proposals by US investment firm RiverOak to take control of the site and reopen it as a freight hub.

Mr Grayling said he understood the controversy surrounding the future of the site, which is awaiting the council’s verdict on a planning application by its present owners for 2,500 homes, offices and leisure facilities.

However, he said any decision on the future of the site was for the local community, the owners and the local authority to make.

Mr Grayling said: “I absolutely understand how strongly people in Thanet feel about the future of Manston.

“I can simply say to my hon. Friend that this Government would be perfectly supportive of proposals to develop a freight hub at Manston, but I am afraid that that has to be a matter for the local community, the owners and the local authority, and I hope that they reach the right decision in the interest of the nation.”

The comments come with some irony, given the RiverOak proposals are subject to the approval of a development consent order, which would be approved by ministers and give them power to take control of the site.

Afterwards, both Sir Roger Gale and the site’s owners, Stone Hill Park, were claiming a victory from the Transport Secretary’s comments.

“I am pleased that the Secretary of State did not hesitate to reinforce the Government’s ongoing support for Manston as an airport,” said Sir Roger.

“It is clear that as we develop new markets to replace those that we shall lose within the EU and that as goods and personnel have to travel greater distances we are going to need much more capacity in the South East.

Whatever decision is taken about an additional runway at Gatwick or Heathrow we need capacity now if we are not to lose more business to mainland Europe. Manston Airport is available immediately and we must see this project through as soon as possible.”

Ray Mallon, spokesman for Stone Hill Park, said: “Repeated studies have shown that this site is not viable as an airport, something the aviation industry as a whole has known for many years.

“Clearly the Government realise this as well, which is why they are not prepared to commit a single penny of public funds to any madcap freight airport project.

“It’s clear from the response of Chris Grayling that the Government do not regard RiverOak’s plans as essential for the nation, no matter how much Sir Roger tries to convince the public otherwise.

“I commend the Secretary of State for making it quite clear to Sir Roger that it is the owners of the site and the local community who will shape its future, not an American investment company.

“It is clear the Government is not prepared to publicly support RiverOak’s plans. In Parliamentary terms this is about as heavy a rebuttal as you will ever get from a Government Minister to a backbench MP.”

Final consultation held on plans for the Manston airport site

March 16, 2016

The final consultation was held on plans for the Manston airport site today as the owners presented their latest proposals for the site.

The exhibition at the Holiday Inn Express in Minster today was the final part of public consultation that has seen a number of events over recent months and newsletters delivered across Thanet.

Stone Hill Park’s plans for the site includes six main sections:

  • 2,500 homes built of all housing types over a 10-15 year period.
  • Employment with a focus on manufacturing with an aim to create 4,000 jobs.
  • Heritage including room for the site’s two museums to expand plus new Spitfire Park capable of being used to land Spitfires on occasion during the year.
  • 1/3 of the site will be parkland including areas for new woodland and allotments.
  • Village Centre including a GP, pharmacy, a food store, two new primary schools, community hall, hotel and other leisure facilities.
  • Sport and recreation with the creation of an East Kent Sports Village with 50m swimming pool, outdoor wave pool, sports pitches, courts and track.

Plans for a film studio unveiled by owners in June 2015 remain part of the business plan.Ray Mallon, spokesman for Stone Hill Park, said: “The public have spoken and we have listened. What is clear is that the public clearly grasp the strategic importance of this site in helping to regenerate the whole of Thanet, not just the immediate area.

“The most common topics of feedback are the need for quality jobs and homes in the area alongside the clear desire for the development to respect the heritage of the site and to incorporate large areas of greenspace and leisure use. That is what we intend to deliver.”

It is anticipated final plans will then be drawn up and a planning application submitted to Thanet District Council next month.

Manston airport closed in May 2014 and Thanet council continues to look for an indemnity partner to compulsory purchase the site.

American firm RiverOak, who have twice been rejected by Thanet council as an indemnity partner, has submitted a pre-application Development Consent Order, to bypass Thanet council as it looks to take on the airport believing it is a site of national significance.

Manston airport might become manufacturing centre for life science companies outgrowing Discovery Park, Sandwich

09 February 2016
by Chris Price (Kent Messenger Group)The former Manston airport site could become the home of the next centre for life science companies under its new guise as Stone Hill Park.A proposed business park on the site, which would also feature 2,500 homes, is being eyed as a natural successor location for companies outgrowing their labs in nearby Discovery Park in Sandwich.The business estate and airport are both owned by north-east entrepreneurs Trevor Cartner and Chris Musgrave.The pair took over Discovery Park shortly after Pfizer announced it was cutting its activities there in 2011, costing hundreds of jobs.Initially, the site became home to lots of start-up companies spinning out of Pfizer, with entrepreneurs using their redundancy money to continue research they had done with the drugs giant. It has since grown to become home to 125 companies.Many of the research companies are nearing the manufacturing stage in the coming years, which will require larger premises than can be offered at Discovery Park.Bosses see the £1 billion Stone Hill Park scheme as the answer to stopping those property revenues slipping away to other parts of the UK.Discovery Park managing director Paul Barber said: “Stone Hill Park could be a natural extension to Discovery Park. While this site is positioned for research and development, some of our firms have aspirations to move into manufacturing one day.“When they get to that stage, we need larger buildings and an obvious place for them would be Stone Hill Park. It is only up the road and has a lot of land.”Moving companies at the manufacturing stage to Stone Hill Park would also solve another problem for Discovery Park, as it edges closer to full capacity.It is already getting close to running out of refurbished lab space and has begun updating its 250,000sq ft Building 500. The project is so large the investment is being done in 50,000sq ft chunks, the first of which is due to be finished imminently.At its present rate of growth, bosses anticipate Discovery Park could be full within two to three years. Mr Barber added: “That day will come, hopefully.”

Update from a local resident:


“Ribbons have been routinely put up around the airport, by a vociferous ‘Save Manston Airport’ campaign. Unfortunately the campaign to ‘save’ the former airport involves the local council attempting a potentially bankrupting compulsory purchase order in order to gift the site to a very small American property hedge fund (who have never run an airport). They have promised to create a freight only ‘cargo hub’. As the former airport lost £100 million in the last 15 years, with pretty much this model, and has never turned a profit (ever) many people question the sense (and motives) to do such a thing. As for the freight airport plans – well they are secret and not for public consumption. Draw your own conclusions from why this may be the case. The owners of the site have however held public consultations for their plan for a £1 billion investment creating 4000 jobs over a 20 year period.


DfT says no stone should be left unturned in a bid to re-open Manston airport

The Department for Transport says no stone should be left unturned in attempts to secure a future for aviation at the Manston airport site. The DfT says it will “explore options to move forward” following a meeting chaired by Transport Minister John Hayes on 11th December. A DfT spokesperson said Mr Hayes agreed to coordinate work across all of Government to explore options to move forward…….wherever appropriate cooperation between Government and Thanet District Council could be achieved every effort should be made to keep it open as an airport.  A week earlier Thanet District Council voted not to select American investment firm RiverOak as its indemnity partners for a potential compulsory purchase of the former airport site. The airport closed in May 2014, with the loss of 150 jobs. As the council voted against the compulsory purchase order on 11th December, the extraordinary meeting to debate the wider issues surrounding the Manston airport site took place on December 16th. Thanet council is not keen to spend a lot of taxpayers’ money in an unsuccessful attempt to save the airport, even though several hundred people want this.

Click here to view full story…

No verdict on Manston Compulsory Purchase Order this week

By Tom Barnes (Isle of Thanet Gazette)      October 13, 2014

Thanet council cabinet members will NOT make a decision on whether to pursue a compulsory purchase of Manston airport on Thursday 16th but they will discuss potential indemnity partners during a meeting at the council’s Cecil Square offices. A report, providing an update on a potential compulsory purchase of the site, is due to be published later this week. Council leader Iris Johnston said: “The report has just been printed and needs to go to cabinet today. It is very much a progress update. “We are hoping that government will intervene more strongly. We will discuss this on Thursday but the report is very much the state of play as it is at the moment.” 

Manston Airport site sold to developers for manufacturing and homes

Manston airport has been bought by developers, Trevor Cartner and Chris Musgrave who have done two other regeneration projects in the UK – the largest being in Billingham. They are part of joint venture company Wynyard Park Limited. They recently met with former airport owner, Ann Gloag, and reached agreement to acquire a majority interest in the Manston site. Future development will be aimed at providing space for a wide range of businesses, with a focus on attracting companies interested in advanced manufacturing, as well as the provision of housing, shops, schools and community facilities. They say it is still is too early to be specific about their plans, but they will be looking to comprehensively redevelop the whole site to create a mixed-use community. The airport has closed, the equipment has been sold and it will not reopen. “We are aware that there were a number of job losses when the airport closed and a far greater number will replace these.” They plan a 20-year £1bn redevelopment to “create more than 4,000 jobs”. Roger Gale, Tory MP for Thanet North, said it sounded “remarkably like opportunist land-banking”.

Click here to view full story…

Manston Airport bidder says cargo is the way forward

17 September 2014 (BBC)

Stephen de Nardo, , of US investment firm RiverOak, says he still wants to purchase the airport. The US businessman who had three bids to buy Manston Airport turned down has said he can secure £20m to reopen it. He said the focus on passenger services in the past had been wrong and cargo was now the way forward. He said he offered owner Ann Gloag the £7m asking price before the airport was closed in May.Ms Gloag has not commented on the future of the airport.  Mr de Nardo said he was convinced the airport could be running again by 2016. Thanet District Council is considering a compulsory purchase of the airport, underwritten by a partner. A spokeswoman said: “We are currently reviewing whether compulsory purchase of the airport is a viable option. A decision on this has not yet been made. “We have been clear that a CPO will not go ahead unless there is evidence of the economic viability of the site operating as an airport and a suitable investor could be identified to cover all of the associated costs.”


Ex-Manston airport boss Charles Buchanan hired as chief executive of Lydd airport five months after Manston closure

12 September 2014

The former chief executive of recently-closed Manson airport has been given the job of running its Kent rival Lydd, with campaigners branding him a “traitor”.   His four-year tenure at Manston came to an end when its owner Ann Gloag decided to close the airport in May, having bought the site in November for £1.    Yet the Save Manston group say former workers – many of whom have been unable to find new jobs in the aviation industry – feel betrayed by their ex-boss.   Mr Buchanan has 30 years’ experience in the developing transport infrastructure, including 10 years at London City Airport, where he gained planning permission to increase the number of flights by 50% and delivered infrastructure projects totalling £30 million.    Mr Buchanan said: “I’ve joined Lydd at a very exciting time and I’m now working with the rest of the senior management team and staff to bring the airport’s development plans to fruition.

Link to story


Manston Airport: Why I shut it by owner Ann Gloag

By Isle of Thanet Gazette
August 08, 2014


MANSTON airport was closed in May, just months after it was sold to a group including millionaire Stagecoach boss Ann Gloag. Ms Gloag was asked a series of questions about the closure, and gives her responses to each.
eg. Question 1. Can you please outline the reasons behind your decision to close the airport?

The prospect of new passenger and freight opportunities failed to materialise and the scale of the losses meant that there was no credible prospect of the airport becoming profitable.

2. Would you have bought it if you’d known you would have to close it just months later?

We wanted to make it a success and didn’t buy it to close it. Our whole team worked tirelessly to secure new business for the airport but no new operators considered it a viable option.

It was only when our aviation team arrived at Manston that we started to discover the scale of the problems, and the situation was exacerbated when expansion opportunities with Ryanair and cargo operators failed to materialise.

and down to Question 16.


Owner of Manston airport has plans to turn it into a “garden city”

Ann Gloag, the owner of Manston, is said to be considering turning the site into a “garden city.” She is in talks with local landowners and “other interested parties” about the future of the site, for a mixed-use scheme (including some jobs) with thousands of homes. A garden city proposal could incorporate other schemes in the Thanet area, including Discovery Park. There is already unemployment in the Thanet area of east Kent, and income levels below the national average. Manston has been losing £10,000 a day and is probably no longer viable as an airport – its location is wrong. If the airport site is considered as a garden city, getting planning permission would be easier. George Osborne said in March that urban development corporations, which speed up planning and cut red tape, would be set up to drive forward selected garden cities. The government has announced plans for one at Ebbsfleet, Kent. The area already has problems with water supply, with some of the lowest levels of rainfall in the UK. One commentator says the expression ‘Garden City’ is a euphemism for a giant housing estate – not something the Thanet district needs.

Click here to view full story…

Thanet council asked by airport workers to issue a Compulsory Purchase Order for Manston Airport

Thanet council says it cannot yet say whether or not it would have the power to acquire Manston airport through a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO). The supporters of Manston, and the employees who have lost their jobs, want the council to do so. They delivered a petition to Thanet council’s offices in Margate, urging the local authority to issue a CPO. The council has confirmed the deputy leader had requested an officer report to set out the council’s options. The report will consider if a CPO would be a viable consideration, given the extensive costs and liabilities for the taxpayer that this would involve. Thanet council has said supports activity that retains the existing footprint of the airport as an airport. It has downplayed reports that the site was to be redeveloped for housing, though this is thought to be likely. The council leader will meet the airport’s owner, Ann Gloag, in the coming weeks to discuss the airport’s future.

Click here to view full story…

Manston airport: Staff prepare to say goodbye as Kent airport to close for final time.  Hope to keep CAA licence


Despite inquiries from several interested parties and two formal offers to buy it, the airfield’s 144 staff will leave for the final time at 5pm. Protestors from the Save Manston and Why Not Manston? campaign groups will gather at the site, near Ramsgate, to honour workers as they wave goodbye to the airfield founded during the First World War.  North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale said: “I regard it as an act of corporate vandalism.   This is the unacceptable face of capitalism. Ann Gloag said to me, to my face, that she wanted to sell it.  We found her a buyer, but there has been no willingness to negotiate at all.”  Meanwhile, trade union Unite has urged the Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin to keep the site’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) license operational. The move would keep the airport technically open after today and “more attractive to a potential buyer”

The owners of Manston Airport say it is to close on 15th May with the loss of up to 150 jobs as a buyer has not been found. The bid by a US firm, RiverOak Investment, was rejected a few days ago, and another bid fell through in April. An airport spokesman said there had not been “a viable alternative” to allow the airport to remain open. The spokesman said Manston had also considered business proposals put forward by staff but those would have still required losses to be subsidised. The local MP, Sir Roger Gale, said the airport should have negotiated over the offers. Individual consultation will now take place with all staff members “who will be supported through this process.” In March, the airport said it was losing £10,000 a day. Several airlines have pulled out, including KLM, which ran two daily flights to Amsterdam. Local campaigners keep hoping this is not the end yet, and they are trying to keep fighting “to the bitter end.”

Click here to view full story…



Local public meeting suggests possible uses for Manston – aircraft breaking, painting etc

April 28, 2014

A fighting fund has been set up in an attempt to save Manston airport . A large public meeting has been held, to back the airport’s attempts to stay open, somehow, and raise money for the fund. Its aim is not clear. At the start of the meeting MP Sir Roger Gale revealed that he and fellow MP Laura Sandys had held meetings with a potential buyer for the airport. Sir Roger said the outcome of his negotiations with a “significant potential investor” will become clear in the next 4 – 5 days. There is a Save Manston Airport group, and a Why Not Manston? group. Among the ideas presented for the survival of the airport was the suggestion that Manston could become an aircraft recycling facility. The airport may already have a licence to carry out aircraft breaking. It was also suggested that Manston could become a specialist in aircraft painting, or that it could be run by the Council [and cost the council a fortune from its losses?] The issue of the noise, directly over Ramsgate, from old and unduly noisy freight planes using Manston remains a key local issue. As a functioning airport, it is just not in the right place.

Click here to view full story…


Manston Airport: KLM last flight today and it ‘will not return’

April 9, 2014

KLM’s last flight will leave Manston on 9th April morning. The Dutch airline has confirmed that will not return to an airport threatened by closure even if a buyer is found. Up to 150 mostly part-time jobs were put at risk last month when loss-making Manston revealed it was in talks over a possible closure. KLM then announced it would axe its Cityhopper flights from 10 April. It began operating twice-daily return flights to Amsterdam in April 2013. KLM Cityhopper managing director said it was impossible to do “business in a shaky environment”. “We can’t flip-flop in and out all the time. That is not the way we work.” An initial offer for the airport from an unnamed buyer was withdrawn without explanation last week and there are currently no offers. Strangely, Manston is UKIP’s site of choice for a new south east hub airport – they oppose Heathrow expansion. Supporters will wave off the last KLM flight with posters and banners. The airport has said it will remain operational until at least the end of April and staff would be given 10 days notice of closure thereafter. Planes are sometimes landed there in emergencies.

Click here to view full story…


Local MPs are asking for “practical support” (ie. government funds) to keep Manston open

April 4, 2014

The government has been urged to step in over the threatened closure of Manston Airport, after an offer from an unnamed buyer was withdrawn. Up to 150 mostly part-time jobs were placed at risk last month when the airport revealed it was in talks over a possible closure. Kent MP Sir Roger Gale told the Commons it was a significant blow. Mr Gale said Manston was both a search and rescue facility and a location capable of taking diverted aircraft. The Leader of the Commons, Andrew Lansley, has pledged to raise the issue with Transport ministers. He said: “I’m sure the House [of Commons] will completely understand and endorse indeed, his view of the importance of regional airports, in this instance Manston.” Mr Gale and South Thanet MP Laura Sandys met business minister Michael Fallon. The two Kent MPs issued a joint statement saying: “If the future of the airport can be secured under new ownership we believe that very considerable practical support will be forthcoming from both the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the DfT. …Added to the backing of Kent County Council and Thanet District Council this adds up to a considerable force for success.”

Click here to view full story…


Consortium withdraws offer for threatened Manston Airport

April 2, 2014

The consortium that had been interested in taking over Manston Airport has withdrawn its offer and pulled the plug on the deal. Thanet North MP Roger Gale had been involved in trying to broker a deal between owner Ann Gloag and the prospective buyer, but it is not known why the potential deal has not worked out. The identity of the would-be buyer has not been revealed. The business has been damaged by the threat of closure. Roger Gale said: “That offer has been withdrawn for legal reasons and whether a further offer will be made I don’t know.” There are apparently still hopes that two other people have shown an interest in the site, to keep it running as an airport. The 45-day consultation with staff over possible closure will continue.       Click here to view full story…


Buyer in contact with Sir Roger Gale MP as Manston airport in consultation over closure

24.3.2014 (Kent Online)

Interest has been shown by a buyer – backed by a consortium – to take over the running of Manston airport.  North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale, a committed supporter of Manston, has outlined the latest moves to save the airport. It follows the bombshell announcement to staff last Wednesday that the airport could close following a 45day consultation period – leaving 150 staff without a job.   Already more than 11,000 people have signed a petition to keep the airport running.  Sir Roger said there had been significant developments since the announcement.  He said: “Most significantly, I am in contact with a willing buyer who has, I believe, a consortium with the resources necessary to acquire the airport as a going concern and with a view to operating it as such.  He continued: “I am in ongoing discussions with the Leader of Kent County Council, who has clarified his position and confirmed his support for Manston as an operating airfield and his continued support for the fast rail link and proposed Manston Parkway station.”

Manston airport losing £10,000 per day – starts 45 day consultation with staff about closure

March 20, 2014

Up to 150 jobs – mainly part time – have been placed under threat following the announcement that Manston airport could close. Staff have been told there will be a 45 day consultation over the “possible orderly closure of the airport” , and that the airport will close in 45 days. Manston has made losses for years, and is now losing about £10,000 a day under its new owner. It was bought by Ann Gloag for £1 in 2013. Manston says “No further comment will be made until the consultation period with staff has been concluded.” KLM now has two flights per day from Manston, and will comment formally after the consultation period. Manston had been in discussions with Ryanair, to get in flights, but these did not work out when Ryanair issued its 2nd profits warning in as many months. Manston has also failed to attract more cargo flights. The airport will continue to run as normal during the consultation period. The land might be used for housing. In response to questions on this, the airport said it noted that Thanet is developing its Local Plan (for where development – industrial, commercial and residential – can take place across the district) and the airport has engaged with Thanet District Council in this process.                                                     Click here to view full story…


Manston airport now consulting on its draft Noise Action Plan

March 18, 2014

Airports are required to draw up Noise Action Plans: “It is a DEFRA requirement that all UK airports prepare a Noise Action Plan (NAP) based on 2011 noise maps. These regulations are a result of the European Directive commonly known as the Environmental Noise Directive (END).” Bickerdike Allen Partners have been retained by Manston Airport to prepare a NAP, and this will require consultation with the Airport’s Consultative Committee and the wider public. The consultation lasts 6 weeks between 14th March and 4th July 2014. Following consultation the plan will be finalised and submitted to the Government. Unfortunately Bickerdike Allen Partners produced a noise report for Manston in 2012, which was found to have seriously under-stated the noise nuisance from Manston. The current report also contains inaccuracies and omissions. The community group, No NIght Flights at Manston, urge residents to take part in the consultation and warn: “If you live under or near the flight path, please remember that these people do not have your best interests at heart.” Those troubled by aircraft noise have found airport Noise Action Plans to be high on words, and worthy statements of good intent, but low on any real actions or targets to genuinely reduce aircraft noise

Click here to view full story…


Manston Airport chief executive Charles Buchanan optimistic of future despite Davies Commission setback


The chief executive of Manston Airport says it is “business as usual” as the new owners get to know the site.  Charles Buchanan says Scottish businesswoman Ann Gloag is “getting familiar” with the company since taking over in November.   Mr Buchanan said: “We have a lot of work going on and the new owners are getting familiar with the business.” “In the meantime we have got our KLM service continuing to operate and cargo services coming in on a regular basis.  Earlier this month, Manston was dismissed as a ‘reliever’ airport for the South East region by the Airports Commission. The Commission said while the Manston proposal “presents some potential” it did not address “the large question of London and South East capacity”.    Mr Buchanan said: “We are not going to have a four-runway hub airport on the Isle of Thanet but we are going to play an important and increasing role within satisfying demand for air travel and cargo within the local area and the regional context.  ‘Manston is not a stopgap. It is an integral part of the solution.’

Manston owner Ann Gloag brings in Alastair Welch to work with Charles Buchanan to try and turn it round

December 14, 2013

Back in July, in a surprise move, Southend’s managing director Alastair Welch, who led the airport since before the Stobart Group bought it for £21 million in 2008, left at the end of July. Now failed Manston airport, recently bought by Ann Gloag for £1, has taken Alastair Welch on to work with Charles Buchanan to try and breath some life back into it. Ms Gloag said: “As the new owner of Manston Airport, I am ready to work on investigating opportunities for growth at Manston. I have over 30 years experience in the transport industry and will use that expertise as best as I can to optimise both freight and passenger growth at Manston.” Mr Welch worked for BAA at Heathrow and Stansted before Southend. He said “For the airport to thrive and fulfil its potential, it is vital that we create an environment where new partners are attracted to do business at Manston.” However, at present all it has is a twice daily KLM flight to Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport.   Click here to view full story…


Infratil sells Manston Airport for £1 (well, £350,000 with adjustments) to Ann Gloag. They paid £17 million for it in 2005.

October 14, 2013

Infratil has agreed to sell Manston Airport to Lothian Shelf (710) Limited, an entity wholly owned by Ann Gloag, a co-founder of Stagecoach with her brother Brian Souter. She is a very rich woman. It was sold for cash consideration of £1, plus an adjustment for working capital variances and cash injected by Infratil between 14 October 2013 and transaction completion (which is expected to be around £350,000). Ann Gloag is an experienced investor who co-founded Stagecoach Group, the UK-listed public transport operator, along with her brother, Brian Souter. Infratil tried to look on the positive side, saying “Infratil Limited is very pleased to have found an acquiror with a vision for Manston Airport’s future development,” and “this sale will result in a more focused portfolio and improve our future cash flow position.” Ann Gloag said she believes “there is real potential for growth that has not been fully captured. Having worked in the transport industry for over 30 years, I believe I am very well placed to help maximise opportunities for both freight and passengers at Manston.” Sale completion will probably be on 29th November. Infratil bought Manston for £17 million in 2005.    Click here to view full story…


British Airways A380 with two training flights per day from Manston exciting the plane spotters

July 25, 2013     Manston airport has finally got some traffic, even if it is only the BA Airbus A380 doing several training flights per day. Plane spotters are getting very excited about the fact that several times per day they can see the A380 take off and land. It leaves Manston each morning at around 7am,goes to a mall airfield east of Paris, before taking off and landing again at Chateauroux airport some 80 miles south of Paris, and then coming back to Kent between 11.15 am and noon. And then the whole thing again starting at 2pm and getting back between 6.15m and 7pm. The training is due to last till September, when the first BA A380s enter service. Pilots are being trained, and also cabin crew. Anyone interested in tracking the A380 at Manston can do so via a number of apps, including flightradar 24. The flight number is BA380. Some activity at Manston at last.     Click here to view full story…

Manston Airport Hosts new British Airways Aircraft for Training Flights

June 14, 2013       British Airways has chosen Manston  as a base for its entry into service programme for the new Airbus A380 and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

The A380 will be based at Manston this summer while the pilots undergo flying training and the cabin crew carry out familiarisation visits.

Charles Buchanan, Chief Executive of Manston Airport, said: “This contract is the culmination of months of hard work so we are thrilled that the UK’s leading airline has shown confidence in Manston’s capabilities.  I am very proud that we will be playing our part in bringing such fantastic aircraft into service.”

Once the A380 training is complete, the airline’s new Boeing 787 Dreamliner will also make its way to Manston for part of its ‘entry into service’ programme.   Link 

More on those Cargolux Kenyan bean imports – checks are being done by Council Env Health Officers

11.3.2013    No Night Flights at Manston report that Thanet District Council have now managed to rearrange the workload for its already over-stretched EHOs, and cut through swathes of Government and FSA red tape, and saved Manston’s bacon. And beans. The council seemed to have helped to solve the problem of Manston being unfit to import beans. What the costs are for the council, is not known, or what  impact this extra work might have on other services provided by the EHOs might be.  Click here for full story ….

Manston campaigners find cost-cutting Kent County Council to spend up to £100,000 relating to KLM flights

March 1, 2013   Campaigners at Manston report that they have had to resort to the threat of a Freedom of Information request to find out if Kent County Council has been giving subsidies to the airport. They have managed to get the following statements from KCC: “I can confirm Kent County Council has not been asked for any contributions from KLM nor have we been asked to fund KLM. We were however, asked by the owners of Manston airport if we would contribute to a marketing package to market both the route and the opportunities in Kent. We have agreed a contribution of up to £100,000 subject to approval of a marketing plan and for the monies to be managed by Visit Kent.” So that means rate payers in Kent are to contribute up to £100,000 in order to encourage flights to Schiphol from Manston, which looks like a bribe or subsidy, at a time when KCC has had to make around £94 million of cuts to its budget, including cutting £18m from its adult care services, and £5.3m from its childrens’ services.   Click here to view full story…

More jobs land at Manston airport ahead of KLM Amsterdam flights

15.2.2013  (Kent online)    KLM will operate twice-daily return flights from Kent International Airport to Schiphol from April 2. Manston is recruiting 42 new members of staff to cope with extra demand.   That is 14 more than the airport announced when the service was launched in November – bringing the total number of staff members at Manston to almost 140.  Manston airport chief executive Charles Buchanan, said “The new recruits follow the same pattern as our existing staff with 55% being Thanet residents, and a further 38% are from elsewhere in east Kent. Importantly, almost a fifth of the new recruits were previously unemployed and this has to be good news for the long term future of the area.  The first of the 55-minute flights, which will cost £99, will take off at 6.30am each day and the aircraft will carry up to 80 passengers.

Public health checks mean Manston airport needs to become a DPE to import Kenyan veg

The No Night Flights campaign at Manston has discovered that many of the much disliked night flights there are bringing in peas and beans from Kenya.  The EU has now identified some of these peas and beans in the pods as being a possible risk to public health, due to the level of pesticides present. It is therefore deemed necessary to test 10% of these imports, and this can only be done at the number of ports and airports that have the status of Designated Points of Entry (DPEs).  Manston does not yet have this status, and will need to apply and be registered in order for these imports to continue. 26.12.2012   and then ….  The Food Standards Agency have confirmed (3.1.2013) that Manston Airport has now been designated as a Point of Entry for the purpose of importing beans and peas, but only till 31st March 2013. Consignments will be subject to checks at Manston Airport.  

Manston Night Flights consultation – ends 2nd March

February 16, 2012

Thanet District Council is holding a public consultation, lasting for 28 days and ending on 2nd March. Its aim is to find out what the public think about Manston’s recent night flying proposal. All local residents in the area are encouraged to respond and send in their views. The consultation is not question-based, it simply asks for respondents’ opinion of the proposals. It will give more weight to the opinions of those living under the flightpath. The local opposition campaign, No Night Flights, is concerned that the proposals would mean there would be scheduled night flights; these would be freight, not passenger flights; the new proposal wants to shorten it to 11:30pm until 6am- rather than the normal 11pm to 7am; restrictions would only apply to this new shorter “night” – there would be no restrictions on the period 6 – 7am, or 11 – 11.30pm; Manston want 659 flights a year in this new shorter “night” – an average of 1.8 each night… could be none on Monday, none on Tuesday, 5 on Wednesday      Click here to view full story…


Thanet District Council Report Pans Manston Night Flights Proposal

January 25, 2012   A report by consultants Parsons Brinckerhoff for Thanet District Council has been long awaited. Some key findings from the Parsons Brinckerhoff report are that: Manston wants night flights for freight. If this was a planning application, it would be rejected. Having night flights will not generate passenger growth. The noise analysis supporting Manston’s application is flawed. The economic analysis supporting Manston’s application is flawed. The S106 agreement and the planning status of the airport is a shambles. They say Manston airport is in the wrong place and that given its geographic location,” it is unlikely that carriers would show much interest for inbound traffic from key European city links – we would argue this would only be relevant if Manston was strategically placed near to a large city or a region with a large catchment area.”   Click here to view full story…


Some Olympics flights to land at Kent airports – a proportion at night

January 21, 2012   Kent airports – Manston, Lydd and Rochester – are getting excited about their chance, through the arrangements for flights over the period of the Olympics made by Airport Coordination Ltd (ACL) for many hundreds of extra flights. Manston has apparently been told it can have up to 192 arrivals and departures every day with a maximum of 44 between 10pm and 7am. Lydd hopes to have up to 126 planes per day, 20 of which will leave or arrive at night. Rochester’s might have 56 aircraft a day, although no flights will operate between midnight and 6am. It is likely that many of these are private jets, as Heathrow expects to deal with most scheduled flights, even opening a new, temporary terminal.    Click here to view full story…


KCC opposes estuary airport but says Manston is the short term answer to airport shortage

January 20, 2012    Both Medway Council and Kent County Council have described plans for a Thames estuary airport as a “pie in the sky” idea, and believe Manston airport should be developed instead. Kent County Council has recently said “The building of a new airport will take at least a few years to come to fruitition. Increasing the use of Manston airport could help the government’s initiative to boost airport capacity in the South East in the short term.” This is very troubling to people living around Manston. Leaders on Medway Council have called on Transport Secretary Justine Greening to look at “fully utilising the capacity of existing airports including Manston and Birmingham, which could both be joined to London by high speed rail.”     Click here to view full story…


Flybe will quit Manston airport from March 2012

December 23, 2011     Flybe will no longer fly its service from Manston to Edinburgh after March, because there are barely any passengers. The Edinburgh service was regarded as Manston’s jewel in the crown. Flybe also runs a service between Manston and Belfast – which will also end. The Manchester flights were scratched earlier this year A Flybe spokesman said “It is fair to say that Manston is one of the airports with the smaller catchment areas in the UK, and you have Gatwick not too far away.” Manston does not have the makings of a successful passenger airport. Click here to view full story…


Manston Campaigners anger at bid to introduce night flights

11th November 2011    People living near Manston are very concerned there will be more noisy night flights. Currently the airport is not allowed any flights between 11pm and 7am. In new plans, Infratil says it will limit flights between 11.30pm and 6am to less than 2 per night, but leaves them free to fly as many planes as they want, (forecast to be an average 6.4 per night) unrestricted by noise limits, between 11 and 11.30pm and between 6 and 7 am. Some nights there could be more. So that means 8 flights possible each night. Click here to view full story…


Plans for Manston Airport night flights – up to 8 per night

1st November 2011  Manston is asking for permission to operate night flights, and wants Thanet District Council to allow an average of 8 take-offs or landings per night, between 11.30pm and 7am. They hope this would attract new airlines and they have over-ambitious job creation figures. Opponents fear it could pave the way for 24-hour arrivals & departures. The proposal is for 3 flights between 23:00 and 23:30, 2 flights between 23:30 and 06:00 and 3 between 06:00 and 07:00  Click here to view full story…  There will shortly be a 12 week consultation.


Manston airport dragging its heels over its night flight plans

3.10.2011    Manston airport continues to want night flights, to keep it in business. It makes out that without being allowed more, the airport would not be able to deliver on its (fairytale) Master Plan. In Oct 2010 Ramsgate Town Council held its own mini-consultation and rejected night flights, and in Nov 2010 a report from consultancy Bureau Veritas on the airport’s proposals concluded the costs outweigh the benefits. Still no news from the airport on night flying plans.    Click here to view full story…


Four jobs to go at Manston Airport which needs to save £350,000

28th July 2011   Four jobs are to go at Manston in a cost-cutting programme. The airport, owned by Infratil, has been losing money on its operations and needed to cut costs to give it a more secure future. It has identified savings of more than £350,000 that can be made, including the 4 roles. The airport is striving to get airlines to fly from there, and there is a paper-thin hope of “Flyinvicta” which does not yet even exist, flying to New York. Talk about grasping at straws.    Click here to view full story…


Infratil airport results for year ending March 2011 show £5 million loss – could be job losses at Manston

11th July 2011   Jobs could be lost at Kent International Airport after it launched a widescale review of all staff on 23rd March. Charles Buchanan, chief executive of Infratil, the company which owns Manston airport, said it was reviewing “working patterns and conditions of all staff”. The consultation would last for at least 90 days. Nothing has been heard  yet.  Infratil is making huge losses at its two UK airports, Manston and Prestwick, as traffic weakens.   Click here to view full story…


Row sparks over call for £600k Manston airport ‘sweetener’ from taxpayer

16th June 2011     The government has been urged to offer a £600,000 “sweetener” to an unnamed commercial airline planning a new daily service from Manston to an unnamed European destination from next April, it has emerged though an FoI request. The airport operator Infratil is in advanced confidential talks with an unidentified airline.  Now it has been revealed Kent County Council and Infratil pressed for a taxpayers’ handout to underwrite the costs of the service for 3 years.       Click here to view full story…

28.05.11 Manston Airport night flights ‘would create 3000 jobs’
19.05.11 More summer routes take off from Kent Airport

26.03.11 Manston Airport launch operational review

28.01.11 Kent Airport plans horse expansion

Manston airport opens horses facility to cash in on 2012 London Olympics

28th January 2011     Manston airport hopes the world’s top horses could be landing at the airport in the run up to the Olympics.  The airport has started work on a new £250,000 EU equine border inspection post that will open in April and able to house up to 10 horses. They have offered their services to the Olympic Committee. It will be licensed for the importation of horses and other animals into the EU. These flights often climb slowly and noisily to avoid scaring the horses.     Click here to view full story…

Decision nears on Manston Airport plan to discharge runway waste into the sea

28th January 2011    The EA will make a decision in February on plans to allow drainage of runway waste into Pegwell Bay.  The EA invited residents to view the application made by Infratil, at a meeting in Ramsgate last week.  Infratil plans to install an interceptor tank capable of removing runoff water from the taxiways, aprons and runway before discharging the waste into the sea. Concerns were raised over glycols (de-icers) which cannot be removed using filtration.   Click here to view full story…

Manston (Kent) night flight plans grounded by Thanet Council – consultation delayed

1st November 2010   Plans for night flights at Manston have been put on hold. Following a meeting with senior Thanet council officials, Infratil has agreed to revise a proposal to allow planes to take off and land 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with an average of 8 aircraft movements every night,most in the so-called “shoulder” periods of 11pm-11.30pm and 6am-7am. A planned public consultation, due to start this month, will not take place until there are clarifications.   Click here to view full story…



Manston / Ramsgate residents rally on night flights at public meeting

29th October 2010

Residents against Infratil’s plans for regular night flights at Manston airport
made their anger felt at the 1st public meeting on the issue. The packed meeting
gave people the chance to air their views. The application was made in September
to Thanet council. The meeting was chaired by Ramsgate mayor David Green, and
speakers were Kim Gibson of the Ramsgate Alliance of Residents’ Associations and
Susan Kennedy of the No to Night Flights campaign.         Click here to view full story…

New Manston night flights blog spot launched

6th October 2010

The campaigners opposing any increase in night flights at Manston (Kent International)
have set up a new blogspot, called No Night Flights. The blogspot is aiming to
collect together all the key questions and issues about the proposed changes,
and provide answers and information. For example, on the consultation by TDC,
on the details of the proposed flights, on the old and the new S 106 agreements,
and on noise and pollution.     Click here to view full story…

Plans to allow night flights from Manston Airport (Kent) received by Thanet council

1st October 2010

A formal application to operate night flights to and from Kent International
Airport has been received by Thanet council. The plans by Infratil, the company
which owns the Manston site, would allow flights from 11pm-7am. Up to 8 aircraft
movements are expected during this period, although Infratil says the majority
of aircraft would take off or land from 11pm-11.30pm and 6am-7am. There will be
a public consultation, expected to last at least three months.     Click here to view full story…

Manston / Ramsgate residents rally on night flights at public meeting

29th October 2010

Residents against Infratil’s plans for regular night flights at Manston airport
made their anger felt at the 1st public meeting on the issue. The packed meeting
gave people the chance to air their views. The application was made in September
to Thanet council. The meeting was chaired by Ramsgate mayor David Green, and
speakers were Kim Gibson of the Ramsgate Alliance of Residents’ Associations and
Susan Kennedy of the No to Night Flights campaign.     Click here to view full story…


08.10.10 Kent – Jersey flights confirmed for 2011


Kent International Airport boss Charles Buchanan to release night-flight plans

21st September 2010

Details of how many night flights bosses at Manston airport want will be available
soon. He declined to reveal what Quota Count – the method by which planes are
categorised by the noise they make – Infratil wanted. A 747 is equivalent to 4
QC. Steve Higgins, a member of the public who watched the meeting, claimed to
have a document showing the airport’s owners Infratil wanted 1,995 QC – equivalent
to around 500 night flights.

Click here to view full story…


New chief – Charles Buchanan – appointed at Manston airport

 8th July 2010
A new chief executive has been appointed to run Kent International Airport Manston.
Before joining airport owners Infratil Charles Buchanan worked for more than 10
years at London City Airport, ultimately as Strategy and Communications Director,
where he presided over extensive growth.    Click here to view full story…


Airport now called “Manston,  Kent’s International  Airport”

02.07.10       Infratil, the company that owns the Kent airport at Manston, have
changed its name. Kent International Airport will now be known as Manston, Kent’s International Airport.   link

16.06.10 20 new staff at Kent Airport to help with Edinburgh service

28.05.10 Flybe announce Manchester – Kent flights

28.05.10 Flybe Edinburgh – Kent flights take off

05.05.10 Freight up 25% at Kent Airport


Flybe Edinburgh Airport to Kent service launched

30th May 2010     Domestic airline Flybe has reinstated a scheduled daily flight between Edinburgh Airport and Kent. The new service from Kent International Airport in Manston is the first scheduled offering from the regional hub and tickets are available online
for dates until March 2011. Click here to view full story …..

Manston, Kent: Air Cargo Carrier MK Airlines Suspends Flights

10th April 2010
MK Airlines, which operated 2 or 3 B747 freighters from Manston, has suspended
operations because of financial problems and returned its operating licence and
air operator’s certificate to the UK CAA. The freighter operator suspended operations
on Friday, having told customers it had become impossible, with its current financial
resources, to maintain the service and safety levels expected. Staff wages have
not been paid in full for some time. (Various)     Click here to view full story…


Flybe encouraged by Edinburgh – Kent bookings

 Flybe reports that its newly announced daily Edinburgh to Kent (Manston) service
has attracted strong sales in record time, with many flights already more than
50% full. Early bookings have been booming since the flights went on sale last
month, resulting in load factors that are comfortably ahead of Flybe’s initial
forecasts. The flights are the only scheduled flight out of Kent International Airport,  and
begin on May 27th.

Flybe announce Edinburgh – Kent flights

Regional budget airline Flybe is to start daily passenger flights between Edinburgh
Airport and Kent International Airport (Manston). The new route will operate between
27 May to 30 October.   The new service is the first daily scheduled route from Kent since airline EUjet collapsed in 2005. Airport owners Infratil said that the new flights could help
it increase projected passenger numbers from 50,000 in 2010 to more than half
a million by 2014. The 80-minute service will be provided by a 78- seated Bombardier
Q-400 turboprop aircraft.


 ‘Manston night flights? They’re already here’ and not being fined

18th February 2010

Six night flights were made over Thanet by planes using Manston in December,
but just one was fined, according to figures obtained under FoI.   Thanet council
only imposed a penalty for a single flight, on Friday, December 18. The other  5
flights were not fined because the types of aircraft fell into the quieter category,
though 4 were jumbo jets. The decision has sparked anger among residents opposing
an airport application to allow night flights.          Click here to view full story…


Kent Airport freight up 44% in December

04.02.10     December freight volume at Kent International Airport was 3,674 tonnes, 1,120
tonnes (44%) ahead of December 2008 and consistent with the strong freight results
achieved at the airport during 2009. For the 9 months of the financial year to
date cargo traffic was more than double the 2008 total and 28% ahead of the comparative
period in 2007.

15.02.10 Flybe announce Edinburgh – Kent flights

04.02.10 Kent Airport freight up 44%

26.01.10 Kent Airport boss to leave

17.01.10 Kent – Jersey flights to return

11.01.10 Kent Airport freight up 37.6%

28.11.09 Kent Airport cut back expansion plans

29.10.09 Big jump in Kent Airport freight again

15.10.09 £2m upgrade for Kent Airport radar


Kent International Airport boss steps down after three years

27th January 2010

After 3 years at Kent International Airport, chief executive Matt Clarke is to
return home to New Zealand. Tom Wilson, the CEO of Infratil Airports Europe, will
take over management responsibilities at the Manston site from March for an interim
period whilst a permanent replacement is sought. (Kent online) Click here to view full story…


Kent Airport freight up 37.6%

11.01.10       November freight volume at Kent Airport (Manson) was 3,752 tonnes,
1,025 tonnes (37.6%) ahead of last year and consistent with the strong freight
results achieved at the airport during 2009. For the 8 months to the end of December
cargo traffic is more than double that of the 2008 performance and 37% ahead of
the previous peak volumes reached in 2007. More …..


17.01.10 Kent – Jersey flights to return11.01.10 Kent Airport freight up 37.6%  in November

Kent Airport cut back expansion plans

28.11.09       Manston’s Kent Airport has cut back its 25-year expansion plan because of the
effects of the recession on aviation. It has published the final version of its
master plan, which was first drafted in October last year, and has cut its forecast
for passenger numbers in 2018 to 2.2 million from the previous 2.7 million and
in 2033 to 4.7 million instead of 5.7 million. The Chief Exec said  “Our cargo business has proved to be resilient but the recent market activity
has delayed our plans for passenger service expansion in 2009.”

The master plan shows the airport expects fewer than 50,000 passengers in 2010,
rising to 527,000 in 2014. It is working on the assumption that airlines will
begin operating daily scheduled services from the airport from 2014 at the latest.
The total number of passenger flights per day are expected to rise from one in
2010 to 56 in 2018 and 97 in 2033.       More details at Kent Airport cut back expansion plans


Infratil to sell Prestwick and Manston

18th November 2009         Infratil may be planning to sell off its remaining airports. Prestwick and Manston could be sold within a year. They already sold their German airport back to the City of Lubeck this month at a near break-even price.         Click here to view full story…
29.10.09 Big jump in Kent Airport freight again15.10.09  £2m upgrade for Kent Airport radar03.10.09  Freight up 190% at Kent Airport
09.09.09 Private charter airline opens Kent Airport base
02.07.09 Anger after council leader fails to attend Kent Airport meeting
09.05.09 Kent Airport makes £4m loss
19.04.09 Holiday flights take off from Kent Airport
12.03.09 BA Cargo arm snub Kent Airport for Stansted

Thanet airport group’s anger at Carter no show

30th June 2009

The leader of Kent County Council faces being reported to the authority’s Standards
Committee after he missed a meeting at Kent Airport on Friday. The county’s top
Tory was due to attend the Consultative Committee meeting to address them and
audience over his public support of the airport – regarded by many as a major
issue in Thanet. Around 150 people had turned up to see him speak, eager to hear
him explain his position but he pulled out.       Click here to view full story…


Brazier champions Manston Airport

20th June 2009

Julian Brazier, Shadow Minister for Aviation, used a Parliamentary debate yesterday
on Regional Airports to highlight the importance of Manston Airport’s contribution
to the local economy. He said the airport was massively disused, and &lquot;Today, regional airports are struggling and it is important during the economic crisis that we
support local drivers of economic growth. Manston is key in supporting the East
Kent economy.&rquot;       Click here to view full story…

Blow for Kent International Airport as BA Cargo stays at Stansted

11th March 2009

Speculation that British Airways World Cargo would leave Stansted to operate
from Kent International Airport at Manston is finally over. British Airways World
Cargo had decided to stay at Stansted. The airport chief executive, Matt Clarke,
said the airport is committed to attracting further freight operators and ensuring
the return of scheduled passenger services to a range of destinations in line
with the draft master plan. (Kent Online)   Click here to view full story…


On British Airways World Cargo moving to Manston: From the Stop Manston Expansion Group blog,

However, when asked, Jude Winstanley, manager network and freighters, BAWC, told
Air Cargo News: &lquot;We are a long way through negotiations for a move to Manston.
It has been a complex tender process but it is close to an end. However, the final
decision has not been approved yet.&rquot;       When he was asked for the reasons for
the move Winstanley said: &lquot;A key consideration is price, but we also look at operational aspects, quality of service, availability of the right slots, congestion, handling
and the linkage including trucking.     “Stansted has been our home for some time
but Manston offers great benefits”;   (SMEG blog).

BA to shift cargo operations to Kent Airport?

27.02.09         A senior Kent politician has name British Airways as the mystery
firm set to move into Kent Airport (Manston), according to local press reports.
This would free up slots at Heathrow  and Kent does have a big runway and hardly any flights, so it has a plausibility.
Thanet council called an emergency meeting last month to change regulations of
Kent Airport’s night flights in the belief that a new freight operator was about
to relocate there. Despite widespread speculation that British Airways World Cargo
was the firm set to move in, no formal announcement has since been made.   He later confirmed he believed the company in question is BA. An airport spokesman
said he did not know how Councillor Gilbey had come by the information and refused
to disclose who the operator would be until the deal had been finalised.   (UK Airport News)

Manston – Controversial airport plans fail to take flight

5th February 2009           Controversial plans to allow aircraft to take off and land at a Kent airport
from 6am until 11.30pm have gone down like a lead balloon among environmental
campaigners. Councillors are expected to decide next Thursday whether to alter
a Section 106 environmental agreement – a move that would allow dozens of night-time
flights to and from the airport every month. An as-yet-unnamed company hopes to
fly 747 aircraft into the airport up to 11 times a week. (Extra)         Click here to view full story…


Manston – Extraordinary meeting of Thanet council to discuss airport

5th February 2009         An extraordinary meeting of Thanet’s full council is to be held on 12th February
to discuss a variation to the Section 106 agreement to enable some night-time
flying. Infratil are in discussions with a major European airline that wishes
to locate its long haul international aircraft at the airport. If an agreement
is reached, it is expected that 747 aircraft will be based at Manston, with flights
likely to start after May 2009. (Thanet DC)         Click here to view full story…


Manston Night Flights

 4th February 2009
 A local Thanet councillor has warned that: A “Major European Airline” (reported
to be BA World Cargo) has requested to be allowed 11 flights of 747’s a week.
The airline have asked to be able to operate between 11pm and 11.30pm and 6am
and 7am meaning the current section 106 agreement governing flight times would
need to be changed. The flights will be freight and cargo journeys, not passenger
trips, and could start as early as May. (local blog site – Eastcliff Matters)
Click here to view full story…


Manston – more visits for airport working party

4th February 2009

The Manston Airport Working Party – part of Thanet District Council – have carried
out two more visits to other airports, looking at the draft masterplan for Kent
International Airport at Manston. Members have visited Prestwick, (which is also
owned by Infratil), Southend, Norwich, Bristol and Bournemouth – and spoken to
local planners. Research is also underway regarding Doncaster Robin Hood Airport.
(Thanet DC)   Click here to view full story…

27.02.09 BA to shift cargo operations to Kent Airport?

15.02.09 Kent Airport gets extra flights approval

08.02.09 New Kent Airport campaign website launched


Letter to all 56 Thanet councillors

Stop Manston Expansion Group – Blogsite
Thousands of jobs – but who are they for?
Stop Manston Expansion Group – Blogsite.
Public meeting on Fri 12th December – “Thanet: A new way forward”
There was a public meeting   attended by around 60 people –  in Ramsgate, on 12th
December 2008,  to discuss the airport master plan consultation, as well as the
China Gateway project, the local road schemet, and Thanet Earth.    The meeting was organised by local campaigners, the Green Party and CPRE Kent
and speakers were  Caroline Lucas MEP,   John  Stewart (AirportWatch),   Hilary Newport (CPRE Kent).

Manston Airport – KCC chief backs Manston over new Thames Estuary airport

Kent County Council leader, Paul Carter, has hit back at Boris Johnson’s call
for a new airport in the Thames Estuary and suggests Manston instead. Mr Johnson
is calling on the Government to reconsider plans for a new airport in the estuary
instead of going ahead with the widely opposed plans for a third runway at Heathrow.
(Kent Messenger)         Click here to view full story…


23.12.08 Flybe announce Kent Airport – Jersey flights

23.11.08 Freight down 70% at Kent Airport

29.10.08 Freight down 24% at Kent Airport

12.10.08 Kent Airport launch masterplan

03.09.08 Freight up 6% at Kent Airport

31.08.08 Survey reveals demand for passenger flights from Kent Airport

28.08.08 Price cut on flights to Majorca from Kent Airport

23.08.08 Freight up 15% at Kent Airport

17.08.08 Massive freight drop at Kent Airport

14.08.08 Kent Airport freight airline goes bust

09.08.08 Tories say tax threatens Kent Airport future

25.05.08 Jobs and freight up at Kent Airport

19.05.08 Freight up 37% at Kent Airport

12.05.08 Huge response to Kent Airport survey

06.05.08 Kent Airport launch survey

26.04.08 Racing cars touch down at Kent Airport

10.03.08 Kent Airport charity calendar raises £7000

07.03.08 Kent Airport summer flights in demand

18.02.08 Council back Kent Airport to take Heathrow expansion

17.02.08 Kent Airport freight up 32%

27.01.08 Freight up at Kent Airport

26.01.08 New hotel opens at Kent Airport

25.01.08 Kent Airport helped Heathrow after BA crash


31.12.07 Kent Airport announces holiday show details

24.12.07 Kent Airport – Jersey flights announced

16.12.07 Freight up 26% at Kent Airport

05.12.07 Public meeting on Kent Airport flights plans tonight

November 2007Freight up   26% at Kent airport   (16.12.2007)
Eurostar cuts could bring Brussels flights to Manston   (29.11.2007)
Freight up 168% at Kent airport   (25.11.2007)
October 2007
Council to look at new Kent Airport development plan     (15.10.2007)

BMI to operate Kent Escapes flights (August 2007)

All articles in reverse date order