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The once-secret KCC funding bid

Bureaucracy being what it is, KCC and Infratil were obliged to spell out in detail the brazen cheek of their cash plea. Do please remember that Infratil is a New Zealand-based investment company, and that whatever profits it can (finally) squeeze out of this lemon of an airport will be going straight back to their antipodean investors, still smarting from years of multi-million pound losses.

A closer look at that bid

The once-secret KCC funding bid

Bureaucracy being what it is, KCC and Infratil were obliged to spell out in detail the brazen cheek of their cash plea. Do please remember that Infratil is a New Zealand-based investment company, and that whatever profits it can (finally) squeeze out of this lemon of an airport will be going straight back to their antipodean investors, still smarting from years of multi-million pound losses.

Infratil Airports Europe Ltd (IAEL) will progress the introduction of a twice-daily direct air service from Manston (Kent International) Airport to [censored] …  As with any new venture of this nature, however, the proposed service presents significant financial risks to [censored]. It will therefore be necessary for IAEL to underwrite the service for its first three years of operation, representing a total financial commitment of £600,000. Funding for this purpose is being sought through the Regional Growth Fund.

Translation: We would like you to join us in treating Air Anon as a special case, and exempt them from the everyday commercial realities, risks and pressures that apply to everyone else in Thanet and Kent. We were rather hoping the airport owners would cushion them with a generous sweetener, but Infratil are tired of throwing good money after bad, and obviously don’t regard this as a good bet. So we would like a handout.

The commencement of the new air service will trigger the employment and training by IAEL of 23 personnel at Manston (Kent International) Airport. This represents a revenue cost over three years of £500,000, which is being sought through the Regional Growth Fund.

Translation: The airport owners aren’t even prepared to pay their own staff. So we would like a handout.

IAEL will fully fund a dedicated bus shuttle service for air passengers between the Thanet Parkway Station and Manston (Kent International) Airport. This service would commence immediately following the opening of the Parkway Station and would represent an ongoing annual revenue cost to IAEL of approximately £100,000.

Translation: Because we’re planning to build the Parkway station where there are no other public transport links, Infratil are obliged to pick up the tab for chauffeuring their handful of passengers to the airport. We’re only mentioning this in the hope that it is construed as Infratil being generously public-spirited, rather than grudgingly accepting commercial necessity.

As part of the first phase of the Manston (Kent International) Airport Master Plan, IAEL will fund the capital cost of a new Airport Southern Approach Road, to reduce interchange times by bus between the Thanet Parkway Station and the airport terminal and to divert airport-related traffic away from Manston Village. The capital cost of the road has initially been estimated as approximately £6.5 million. It is anticipated that the road would be constructed once throughput at the Airport reaches approximately 3 million passengers per annum.

Translation: Infratil “anticipate” a throughput of “approximately” 3 million passengers only in their wildest forecasts and know, in their heart of hearts, that their £6.5m is safe. But the never-to-be-realised promise makes them look good.


Dear Reader, you can download your copy of the once-secret KCC Bid Document below, and if you can deduce (or already know) the identities of the airline, or the European hub airport, that are painstakingly blacked out throughout the document, do let me know. Thank you.

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  1. Gianfranco MAGRO

    It is alleged that we still live in a democracy. The definition of a democracy is "A political system in which the supreme power lies in a body of citizens who can elect people to represent them". Many things have been happening in recent years, especially in Kent, where decisions have been taken by those elected which have been in direct opposition to the will and the interest of those who have elected such representatives.Further, democracy is also understood to be "A form of government for the people by the will of the majority of the people – based on the conception of the equality of man".A decision of such importance as the one which will affect thousands of people in certain area must be taken by the people living in those areas. There is no point in asking a man or woman living away from one of the flightpaths to cast a vote on such matter. Only those directly involved should make the decision. The answer, therefore, rests in a referendum of residents who will be directly involved by the flightpath of planes flying during the night hours.Elected representatives please take note. Your job should, and does, depend on it.