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Game-changer – Manston to stop being an airport

Manston and Prestwick have proved hard to sell. Unsurprisingly. Infratil wants to sell them because they’re failures – and that’s why they’re hard to sell.

Infratil has been losing millions every year, for years, and they’re
eager to staunch the flow. The penny seems to have dropped that these
two failed airports would be easier to sell… if they weren’t airports.

So Infratil is putting the word out that they’re prepared to stump up
cash to help potential buyers transform the airports into, er,
something they actually want to buy.

Do feel free to use the comments section to pass on any helpful
suggestions for Manton’s future… theme park… solar farm… race
track… nature reserve…

Infratil says it would consider investing in its two British
airports to change their functions to help make them more attractive to

The listed infrastructure investor’s Glasgow Prestwick and Kent
airports are for sale after years of under-performance. Last week, Dutch
national carrier KLM confirmed it would start making twice daily flights
from the Kent airport to Amsterdam from April 2013.

Infratil executive Tim Brown says the process of selling the airports
has taken longer than the company expected. He says the company now has
to look at a range of complex proposals and if the use of an airport is
going to change, it will have ramifications for local communities.

Mr Brown says if airports are very successful then councils or cities
often then tax them, but if they are struggling they may then either
need subsidies or be closed and put to alternative use. He says the
debate then becomes more complicated, which makes timeframes more
difficult to guess. Mr Brown would neither confirm or deny whether
Infratil is looking to buy Stanstead Airport in London.

Copyright © 2012, Radio New Zealand 19 November 2012

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  1. Strange KLM say they are going to fly twice a day from Manston, to Holland: if this has potential, why hasn’t a British Airline done the same? Can’t see the attraction myself – by the time anyone has flown to Holland, gone through arrivals, and boarded whatever transfer flight they want, they could have gone to Gatwick twice over!Best thing for Manston would be if Centre Parcs built a theme park there, they would employ thousands more people than ever an airport would![Dennis Franklin]

  2. Agree with Mr Franklin’s comments and also think a Theme Park would be a great idea – this is what Thanet and surrounding area needs as the nearest theme parks are Thorpe Park and Chessington which are all at least 2 hours drive away and that’s on a good day.[Sue Brookes]

  3. It’s important for people to realise that it is Thanet’s elected representatives who have prevented the airport being used for anything which might have been economically effective. When the airport came up for sale, it was the council which insisted that it had to remain as an airport. Old fools still living in a bygone age of package holidays to the Costa del Sol. Successive councils have had several opportunities to change tack but have stubbornly refused to acknowledge that we might be better off with something else. There can now be little doubt that Infratil would be willing to sell for an alternative use. Only the Council stands in their way. The key problem in Thanet is that we are governed by stubborn old men who cannot concede when they are patently wrong. The answer is simple. The voters of Thanet need to hold these old goats responsible for the decisions they have made. You can’t have progress if you are governed by people who haven’t yet mastered the video recorder.[Catflap]

  4. I would quite like houses on the site.[I like houses]

  5. Get rid of the airpor for good, and lets have a museum built and a picture gallery and theatres etc etc.The Turner Gallery has brought in plenty of people from worldwide to help put money into the local economy. Let’s do the same.[FLYTHEHELLOUTOFIT]

  6. People can dream to a Centre Parcs or a theme park employing thousands more people than ever an airport would! but is misleading themselves and misunderstanding the economy reality.Thanet has pretty nothing strong to offer to attract businesses – look at Pfizer site.What bright university does Thanet has providing scientists or engineers willing to set-up companies?What skilled workers does Thanet and the surrounding could provide to any advanced international companies competing in the global economy?Where will people come from to visit another theme park when even Leeds Castle is struggling to cover its running costs and when Brits take off from London airports to cheap holidays resorts?Bringing thousand of jobs is not so simple and need more skills and resources than Thanet has. Chance can only come from large manufacturing company looking for space and close connection roads, rails and airports with high standard living facilities for its relocated employees. Does Thanet can offer this? Ask yourself the question and provide the answer to your councillors.[Patrick ducruet]

  7. Even though they were ill informed or foolish enough to purchase Manston Airport with all the history of previous failures there, Infratil should be given a way out by being allowed to sell the land for other use. It is never going to be a viable airport bringing in jobs for the area and never has been. Thanet District Council should now be looking at planning applications for the change of use. It is pointless wasting money any further with ridiculous ideas on how it can grow into an international airport.[Kent Resident]

  8. We’re in Thanet don’t forget, i don’t think anyone who supports the airport really cares about job prospects all they want is to save the taxi fares to Gatwick & Heathrow it’s all about saving a few bob, the councillors that support it may get a nice discount who knows.[onlyfools]

  9. A theme park would bring much needed revenue into Thanet. Hotels, restaurants, cafes and all other delights a seaside holiday can provide would benefit. Go for it TDC!