Home ... NNF ... Manston ... David Foley backs night flights

As part of the continuing PR offensive, Manston airport has roped in David Foley to bang the drum for night flights, as if they're not noisy enough already. The local papers are describing David Foley as "business leaders", despite the fact that there is very obviously just one of him. More of this in another post.


News that the airline operator Flybe is scrapping Edinburgh service sparks new demands for more flexible flight schedules. 

Business leaders in Thanet have demanded that night flights be given the go ahead at Manston airport in order to attract passenger airlines after Flybe confirmed it was to scrap its service to Edinburgh in March. The firm said the route was not proving financially viable – thus delivering the latest blow to the terminal as it looks to establish itself within the mass market.

David Foley backs night flights

As part of the continuing PR offensive, Manston airport has roped in David Foley to bang the drum for night flights, as if they’re not noisy enough already. The local papers are describing David Foley as “business leaders”, despite the fact that there is very obviously just one of him. More of this in another post.


News that the airline operator Flybe is scrapping Edinburgh service sparks new demands for more flexible flight schedules. 

Business leaders in Thanet have demanded that night flights be given the go ahead at Manston airport in order to attract passenger airlines after Flybe confirmed it was to scrap its service to Edinburgh in March. The firm said the route was not proving financially viable – thus delivering the latest blow to the terminal as it looks to establish itself within the mass market.

David Foley from Thanet and East Kent Chamber of Commerce said:

“Flybe has been a very good user at Manston and has brought in a new dimension but it is not the only airline in the world. If we can get an international carrier in then that will dwarf the few domestic flights Flybe operated.”

Flybe also cancelled its Manchester service from the airport last year. In 2005, budget airline EUjet launched a host of services at Manston, but they collapsed due to a lack of demand.

The airport’s owner Infratil has put in an application to Thanet council for more flights between 11pm and 7am. It says by 2018 they would average around 3.2 flights per night, but campaign groups are opposed to the idea.

Mr Foley argued airport expansion should be given the go ahead because it offered Thanet the best employment opportunities in the medium term. He said:

“The airport says it will deliver 3,000 jobs by 2018. The increase in air passenger duty is not good for airlines but it does put a greater emphasis on airports that can serve northern European hub airports. Manston is in a wonderful position to do that. Infratil is a very different company from EUjet. It has deeper pockets. It has pumped around £40m into Manston. It has been a benign investor in the best sense of the word. It is in the best position to plan its future strategy.”

Manston airport chief executive Charles Buchanan said:

“The decision by Flybe reinforces the need for the airport’s proposals for limited and managed scheduled night-time flights to be agreed with Thanet District Council in order to compete with other national and regional airports.”

Thanet council leader Cllr Clive Hart, said:

“This is obviously disappointing news and will have an impact on the east Kent economy, but in the current economic climate, we can understand Flybe’s decision. As we have made clear, the council will be consulting local people on the issue of night flights in the New Year.”

kentnews.co.uk 1st Jan 2012


If we are to maintain our schools, emergency services, social services, defence commitments and all the heavy demands we place on government at all levels, it is essential that we support the businesses that fund the public sector. This is particularly true in Thanet which has the highest unemployment in Kent.

The airport at Manston represents our best bet to create sustainable, worthwhile jobs in Thanet in the medium and long term. Inward investors with £40 million to spend on improving our infrastructure are in short supply. We must cherish Infratil and remind the doubters that Manston Airport has been in operation since 1915.

David Foley, Thanet & East Kent Chamber.

thisiskent 17th Nov 2011

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No comments

  1. Maurice Byford

    Laughable.Flybe are removing services on financial grounds not because of night flights, if you look at the business plans, Flybe had no intention of running night flights for the next 2 years anyway and so it would not have been an influencing factor.Flybe are reducing their services as are every other airline because of trading conditions, this is in spite of the latest absurd report by the Dept of Transport which suggested that regional airport use is going to increase by 50% over the next 10 years.Where these idiots get their figures from is a total mystery. One assumes they are fed from the self interested delusions of the likes of Buchanan.David Foley is a mouth piece who has been wined, dined and flattered by Manston. If he was any shallower he would be a puddle.Any kind of genuinely experienced business man would see through these business plans, which gives you a clear indication of David Foley's real abilities. The figures don't stack up and any good business organisation wouldn't touch it for that reason. Now the East Kent Chamber is wading in and showing us the incompetency of the so called 'business leaders' that exist within it, I can only hope its members see what a waste of space these people are.

  2. Local resident

    We don't need reminding how long Manston Airport has been there from the likes of David Foley! It was a war airfield and served the military. We were all thankful for it then. It wasn't intended for the type of aircraft used in freight of today. These aircraft are banned from most airports because of noise and pollution. Night flights would only exacerbate this. His argument there is just ridiculous! Let's hope that Charles Buchanan (CEO) of Manston or his cronies are not trying to butter-up our new Labour leader of the Council (Clive Hart) as they have with any other influential leader they have managed to garble their rubbish to. Clive has always morally served his constituents with respect, gratitude and truth. He is highly respected back from them. With that knowledge he was lifted to this position. He will not be bribed.Flybe went because there was not the call from this part of the country, just like all the previous passenger airlines, nothing to do with night flights. The consultation should be public pretty soon now so let's all make sure we take the time to let them know our thoughts on night flights.

  3. Makes no difference the amount of money Infratil have over EU Jet, like EUJet Infratil cannot bring the passenger numbers to Manston it's too far away, how many of you believed Plane Station when they said in our local newspapers that they'd carried 365,000 passengers in their firat year, total rubbish most of their aircraft were leaving almost empty, they had 5 100 seater aircraft, they just did a cash flow report. Makes you wonder about the leaders who run Thanet maybe thats the problem.

  4. Local businesswoman

    "A benign investor in the best sense of the word" says Mr Foley of Manston's owner, Infratil. Er, don't we mean "an investor who bought a pup that has lost money for its shareholders every single year since its purchase"? Infratil's active and deliberate investment in Manston has been minimal. Infratil's losses due to Manston have been significant. These are two different things.Where does Mr Foley get his commercial thinking from? If I were a shareholder investing in Foley Inc and I heard this nonsense from him, I would withdraw all my money from his business immediately – I would hate to see my money "benignly" lost. And, listening to the global trading chatter, it's clear that a number of Infratil shareholders are now very fed up of their money being "benignly" lost – the pressure on Infratil by its shareholders to sell the holey bucket that is Manston is really stepping up. By the way, what is Mr Foley's commercial background? It's comments like this that suggest he doesn't really uderstand what a business is for.

  5. Bothered in Beltinge

    Would one of these so-called 'business' leaders (singular) please explain how giving night-flights the go ahead will attract passenger airlines? A rather large objective of being in 'business' is to make a profit, no?… So out of the limited catchment area available to Manston, there is apparently a night-dwelling sector of potential passengers who are demanding to fly in the ungodly hours? Flybe's flights left in the middle of the day and couldn't attract enough punters…. This is about freight flights and getting fruit, veg and flowers to market at a more attractive time for these companies, nothing more.

  6. The managers of the newly built or aquired hotels in this area who obviously hope that the tourist trade to the area and Ramsgate in particular is picking up, should investigate the effect of very noisy smelly and dangerous planes flying very low over their hotels throughout the night. I think that they would be horrified. The jobs in these hotels are already there and not dishonest pipe dreams, ones dreamed up by 'interested parties' These night flights will not bring tourists, they are only cargo planes so will not bring custom to the hotels. The air freight companies are extemely unlikely to fly passenger planes to Ramsgate. It has alresdy been proved to be unprofitable.