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A reader writes

I have recently moved to Ramsgate, after visiting a friend for five years I fell in love with it and so moved with my whole family. I heard the odd plane when visiting BUT if there were to be night flights I would without a doubt move. These aren’t just planes but huge loud cargo carriers sounding like they are …

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Jul 2011: most read

Job losses at Manston Airport Waitrose gets 20-year lease in Canterbury HBiB Blog Motionless Big Apple pie in the sky Night Flights: too hot to handle? Manston unmonitored URGENT: Beach hut threat Trickle of funding for Manston Parkway Ban on fishing in Memorial Park pond

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Big Apple pie in the sky

Following a 90 day consultation process, Manston is starting to cut its coat according to its cloth and has announced the loss of four jobs. There’s no mention of what these roles were, but hopefully the four unlucky employees will find that their skills are in demand elsewhere in Thanet and they won’t spend too long between jobs. The four …

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Job losses at Manston Airport

Four jobs are to go at Manston Airport in a cost-cutting programme amid speculation that a new service to New York is poised for take-off. The airport, owned by New Zealand company Infratil, has been losing money on its operations and needed to cut costs to give it a more secure future.

Airport chiefs recently examined working patterns to see where cost savings could be made. This process and staff consultation has identified savings of more than £350,000 and the loss of four roles. Charles Buchanan, airport chief executive, said:

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Woken in the small hours, 10th July

Thanet District Council's Penny Button Penny.Button@thanet.gov.uk has special responsibility for Manston Airport. Here's what she had to say to one of the many unhappy residents who contacted her:

Thank you for your recent enquiry regarding an aircraft movement associated with Kent International Airport. The statutory powers available to Thanet District Council to deal with noise exclude aircraft noise, however, we do have a voluntary Town & Country Planning Act S106 agreement with the airport operator which contains some sanctions with regard to aircraft movements.

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Air Passenger Duty

Special pleading for yet more handouts from the public purse.

Manston and a clutch of other regional airports are asking the Government to change the way that APD (Air Passenger Duty) is levied. The suggestion is that APD levels should "be set at a lower level for uncongested regional airports with significant available capacity to help alleviate congestion and improve the passenger experience at the main London airports."

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Why Steer Davies Gleave?

This is from the internal KCC document that describes how the contract (to produce the supporting report for the £10m RGF bid) was awarded.

Outline of Project

Although KCC has previously carried out some outline feasibility work for the proposed Thanet Parkway station (most recently in July 2009), this requires significant updating and development; including more comprehensive passenger demand forecasting and a full feasibility design of the station and car park, if a robust and credible RGF bid is to be prepared. The Government is particularly interested in the job creation potential (both direct and indirect) of proposed schemes, which has not previously been a requirement of traditional transport appraisals. For these reasons, and in light of the challenging timescale for the submission of a first-round RGF bid, it was agreed with the Director of Integrated Strategy and Planning that KCC should invite three technical consultants to tender for this work.

Reasons for appointing this particular Consultant:

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Airport Working Party neutered?

Oh dear. What are the members of the AWP going to do to fill the hours? Their Terms of Reference have been “amended”, removing the interesting and useful bits. I guess they’ll just have to make the most of their invaluable research trips around the country to find out what happens at other regional airports. Rather than just phoning them. …

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Predetermination: valid concern or convenient cover story?

Cock-up or conspiracy? A question that keeps popping into my head whenever I look at the long-standing and slipshod relationship between TDC and Manston. Today's source of wonderment is the aborted motion on night flights at the 14th July TDC Council meeting.

The snippet of Labour press release reproduced below gives one side of the story. Political hot air to one side, it appears that the motion regarding night flights was scotched at the very last minute, rather than at any point in the preceding month or so. Incompetence on the part of officers for accepting an ill-formed or illegal motion? Or what passes for political finesse on the part of the majority party?

I have yet to see the full legal advice (do please send in your copy), but my team of researchers tell me that me that Bevan Brittan's advice was that even debating the motion could be construed as predetermining any possible future application from Manston.

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Transatlantic plans for Manston

A new airline has declared an interest in operating transatlantic flights from Manston. FlyInvicta.com is looking to initially run day-time flights between the East Kent airport and New York. The fledgling company has contacted Manston Airport chiefs to notify them of their intentions.

FlyInvicta.com stressed that the Manston to New York route was far from a done deal and that they were also in talks with airports in London, the north of England and mainland Europe. The company is also in the process of raising the necessary funding required to secure its short to medium-term future against factors such as rising fuel costs and a proposed rise in airport tax.

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