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Half a megatonne short of success

Aircraft manufacturers Boeing and Airbus were in the Press over the weekend being a bit down in the mouth about future demand for their larger craft. Indeed Boeing wonders if it will have to stop building 747s next year as nobody is buying them anymore. Passenger airlines BA and Iberia both predict a gloomy future and are retreating from their previous plans for expansion. Easyjet and Lufthansa say that the outlook looks a bit grim after the UK’s referendum vote. Ryanair is considering starting another price war to boost demand.

What does this all mean for the threadbare dream of a massive cargo hub at Manston? Well, it suggests that the spectre of a capacity squeeze at the London airports is further off than was predicted a while ago. It suggests that dedicated cargo planes are not going to be kicked out of the London airports imminently to make way for expanding passenger airlines. That means that RiverOak stands even less chance than it did a year ago of attracting 10,000 to 20,000 cargo flights a year to Manston.

Other flies in the ointment are the success of East Midlands Airport that already operates 24/7 and that enjoys an enviable position in the middle of the country, making it a good place for cargo forwarding. Then there’s the fact that the cargo market is predicted to grow at a measly 0.4% a year (and that was the optimistic pre-referendum figure). In fact, looking at the CAA’s figures, the number of dedicated cargo flights at regional airports fell by almost 5% last year. The regional total of dedicated cargo was around 460,000 tonnes shifted.

Hold on. RiverOak says that it will shift 500,000 to 600,000 tonnes from Manston. Hello? The ENTIRE regional cargo market is going to move to Manston? What a ridiculous notion.

We ask again: Where are your 10,000 to 20,000 cargo flights a year going to come from, RiverOak, given that the dedicated cargo market is not expanding? Where are your 500,000 to 600,000 tonnes going to come from?

Just how daft do you hope that the Planning Inspector is?

Courtesy of Manston Pickle

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