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Exchange of views

A little article here from kentonline.co.uk that will come as no news to regular visitors to this site. I’m delighted to see that it generated a string of pleasingly measured and thoughtful readers’ comments. Do feel free to add you own, either here or on kentonline.

Plans to allow night flights from Kent International Airport, Manston, received by Thanet council

A formal application to operate night flights to and from Kent International Airport has been received by Thanet council. The plans by Infratil, the company which owns the Manston site, would allow flights from 11pm-7am. Up to eight aircraft movements are expected during this period, although Infratil says the majority of aircraft would take off or land from 11pm-11.30pm and 6am-7am.

After publishing the proposed night-time flying policy on its website, Thanet council said it would carry out a public consultation, expected to last at least three months. It will also seek an independent assessment of the report and provide advice to local residents, explaining how they would be affected. A previous application to allow night flights was submitted to the council in 2009 but Infratil has now also prepared a noise assessment report.

The online comments:

Jon wrote:
Manston needs to properly prove its potenital worth to the local economy before any night flight licence can be considered. The only way in which the airport can be of real benefit to the economy is if passenger services become established as successful. Manston must demonstrate that there is a need for passenger (not freight) night flights. Until they do, there should be no question of Thanet District Council awarding a licence, because the airport cannot yet demonstrate that the economic advantages would outweigh the environmental disadvantages.

Bob wrote:
I am at a loss to understand why Manston needs night flights at all during this stage of its evolution. The only possible reason for night flights (whether passenger or freight) is a lack of capacity during the day, this currently is not the case. Please do not think I am in favour of any night flights even if there were day time capacity issues, I am most definitely not. It is totally inappropriate to bring large, very noisy, aircraft into Manston over built up areas at night. One of the many reasons people live in this part of Kent is its tranquillity, particularly at night. This plan will ruin that for very many people.

Do not be hoodwinked by promises of employment – the number of new jobs and new people employed at the airport or in associated businesses because of this proposal will be negligible. Also do not be hoodwinked by the sound maps produced by the airport’s consultants – we all know sound travels further at night. No one in Thanet will be safe from the menace of night flights.

Dee wrote:
Good the more flights that are allowed from Manston the better,it is about time Manston was used like it should be. I am fed up with those who keep moaning about it. We want MORE jobs and LESS moaners. I remember when the RAF was based there and the American air force – then we had REAL noise.

Dave wrote:
Has Manston reached its capacity for passenger and freight flights during the day? Has this potential been fully explored? i welcome a fully functioning airport but this seems a massive increase for us to bear.

maidofkent wrote:
night flights would mean more night road traffic, which is another noise generator. I say no night flights leaving after midnight

Clare Simon wrote:
I totally agree with previous comments – if all day slots were full there might be some reason for disturbance of local residents – but although there are low flying, noisy cargo flights, they are at least by day, and not that numerous most days. So why on earth should we allow night flights to disturb us? It is not a fully functioning airport by any stretch of the imagination and previous agreements did NOT allow night flights – so why now? What has changed?

Sarah wrote:
Dee will be campaigning to send children back up chimneys and remove the vote from women next – just like in the good old days! The world has moved on and we have to take account of the damage this proposal will do to the environment in its widest sense.

Chris wrote:
am a bit of a loss to why people who live in the vicinity of an airport which has been ear marked for expansion for years and prior to that an RAF base. Should get up on there soap boxes when there is a suggestion of 9 planes landing through the night. Thanet tranquil!! Who are you trying to fool?

Heather wrote:
People like Chris just don’t seem to understand that there is currently no need for night flights, there are penlty of day time slots to land these aircraft. Why disturb us at night when we don’t have to be disturbed. When the day time slots are full there then needs to be a debate on night time landings but I would point out that Heathrow and other major airports in the South East ban night nights and their day time schedules are full. Please Thanet Council reject this proposal.

Keith Jordan wrote:
The reason for night flights when there is still daytime capacity is obvious. Overnight delivery flights leave China and other parts of Asia at midnight arriving into Europe around 04.00 giving time for sorting and onward movement into UK and other EU countries for that day’s delivery.

Similarly freight collected in UK and Europe during the day can be shipped out of Manston at midnight for delivery into the USA the next day. Infratil’s claim of flights mainly from 23.00 – 23.30 and 07.00-07.30 is nonsense. Flight, road and general airport activity will ensure a fully-disturbed night’s sleep. Do not allow it to happen.

Chris wrote:
I think Heather you need to look a broader picture. If the aircraft are not allowed to land at Manston at the time they want. They will land at other air ports such as Luton, resulting in a missed opportunity for Manston and for Thanet. The aviation industry is geared to keep air craft in the air to be efficient. It can not be operate on a 9 to 5 basis to suite the moaner of Thanet. Additionally if you look at Haethrow and Gatwick they do operate night flights between 2 am and 6pm but on a reduced scale. Have a look at the air port schedules there are plenty of flights taking of at 4am!

I also personally feel that an independent adjudicator is brought in, as Thanet council are not equipped and experienced to deal with type of planning request. The success of the airport balances on being flexible, if the airport is a success it will create much needed jobs in area which has the Highest Unemployment rate in the county. In essence bringing dignity back to people of Thanet.

brenda wrote:
I completely agree with Chris. You have to look at the wider picture and realise that sometimes even passenger flights get delayed through no fault of their own, as did my daughters flight from Spain last week due to the Spanish strike and her 11pm flight into Gatwick didnt land till 3am. All airports have to be flexible. I for one would love to see Manston used to its full capacity and the sooner the better as Thanet needs to be put on the map. What a god send that flybe has taken the plunge, I hope other budget airlines follow very soon, but if they are always threatened with hefty fines and get bombarded with complaints from the anti brigade then I think they will think long and hard before coming here.

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