BACA has called for Manston airport to reopen as a “cargo hub”
THE Baltic Air Charter Association (BACA) has called for the Department for Transport to investigate why Manston airport was allowed to close in a short timeframe.
BACA, the world’s largest air charter organisation with over 220 members, says reopening the airport as a cargo hub would free up capacity at other UK airports.
A statement from the organisation said: “A key factor in BACA’s decision is that for many years Manston was the RAF master diversion airport and as such always provided a valuable service to the whole aviation industry.
“Manston has one of the widest runways in the UK and is capable of handling every type of aeroplane, including extremely large commercial and military aircraft.
“While it is apparent that Manston is never going to handle 50 million passengers a year it could free up capacity at other airports by becoming a hub for air cargo, taking 5-10 freighters a day.
“Manston’s runway can already handle the world’s largest aircraft; A380, B747, AN-124 aircraft, without any modifications.
“This will potentially free up 2,000 inbound and 2,000 outbound UK runway slots annually.
“Utilising Manston as a dedicated cargo hub could free up capacity at other UK airports to focus on passenger and non-cargo traffic.
“By adopting similar plans at other airports, such as the recently announced closures of the RAF bases at Mildenhall, Alconbury and Molesworth, this proposal can offer a solution to the future shortage of UK runway capacity. This is the proposal that BACA supports.
“BACA asks for the UK Department for Transport to investigate why Manston airport was allowed to close so quickly and to lend their support to all the local and international companies that are prepared to invest and reopen the airport.”
Stagecoach bus tycoon Ann Gloag closed Manston last May, axing 150 workers in the process. The airport had been losing a reported £10,000 per day.
Current owners, Discover Park chiefs Chris Musgrave and Trevor Cartner, acquired a majority stake in the site in September.
Mr Musgrave and Mr Cartner are planning to oversee a £1 billion redevelopment of the former airport, with the aim of providing 4,000 jobs across a mixed use development.
A report released by the Transport Select Committee on Friday slammed Kent County Council’s lack of action after it was announced Manston would close.