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From the once-secret KCC funding bid

There seems to be an endless supply of consultants, ready willing and able to tell the emperor of the day how lovely his clothes are, and how much lovelier the next suit will be.

Next up in line is an outfit called Steer Davies Gleave who aim "to provide unrivaled advice that helps deliver better transportation solutions to everyone, everywhere". And freedom from the nagging pedantry of spell-checkers, presumably.

Air Anon at Manston

From the once-secret KCC funding bid

There seems to be an endless supply of consultants, ready willing and able to tell the emperor of the day how lovely his clothes are, and how much lovelier the next suit will be.

Next up in line is an outfit called Steer Davies Gleave who aim “to provide unrivaled advice that helps deliver better transportation solutions to everyone, everywhere”. And freedom from the nagging pedantry of spell-checkers, presumably.

SDG have made two invaluable contributions to the now widely-read KCC funding bid – a Technical Note on the impact of the new air service, and a Technical Note on the proposed new Thanet Parkway station. Planes and Trains, but no sign of Automobiles yet.

The forecast impact of Air Anon

SDG follow the pattern set by the rest of the bid and kindly spare Air Anon the shame of being associated with Manston airport by scribbling out their name with their blackest marker pen. Curiously, they also censor the names of the two airports that they think are similar to Manston. Dear Reader, I offer you a priceless prize if you can deduce the names of these two airports – here are the clues:

and…

and…

…any ideas? No? Not to worry – the real chuckle value comes when they move away from actual places into the increasingly abstract realm of numbers. The first blooper is pretty elementary:

Mmm… 32,000 doesn’t actually happen on that graph. Never mind. Let’s see what they make of the two secret comparison airports…

They tot up how many people are in the catchment area (60 minutes drive, for the purposes of this exercise), and it turns out that one is about the same size as Manston, the other is 50% bigger.

Then they find out how many trips everyone in the two catchment areas took in a year (about the same), and come up with trips-per-year figures (which differ by about 50%).

Then they apply the trips-per-year figures to the Manston catchment population and come up with two very different forecasts for the total number of trips per year from Manston. Ingeniously, they use these figures as High and Low figures, rather than accepting they may not have chosen the comparator airports very well.

They then waste a couple of pages flaffing about with a “propensity to fly” multiplier, which eventually makes less than 0.5% difference to the forecast.

The upshot is that they reckon Manston has a population of 275,000 in its catchment area, and Air Anon could attract 119,000 passengers a year, TOPS!

Personally, I think this is a hopelessly crude model – there are many more factors (some of them much more significant) in the decision to fly that are being ignored. The proximity of the destination airport to where people actually want to be, the all-in ticket prices, the days of the week and times of day of the outward and return flights, parking, transfer times, legroom, check-in lead times, airline reliability, etc, etc.


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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