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Manston: Timeline


Early war planes start to use the open fields at Manston in preference to the cliff-side airstrip at St Mildred’s Bay.


Two distinct units stationed at Manston, the Operational War Flight Command and the Handley Page Training School.


The Royal Flying Corps was well established and taking an active part in the defence of England.


Manston was heavily bombed and airfield buildings destroyed during the Battle of Britain.


During the Cold War the United States Air Force used Manston as a Strategic Air Command base for its fighter and fighter-bomber units.


With the USAF’s withdrawal from Manston, the airfield became a joint civilian and RAF airport and was thence employed for occasional package tour and cargo flights, alongside its continuing role as an RAF base.


Manston became styled as Kent International Airport, and a new terminal was officially opened that year by the Duchess of York.


It was decided to close the RAF Manston base. The ‘airside’ portion of the base was signed over to the commercial operator of Kent International Airport. The MOD decided to keep the central fire training school (CTE) facility open, and almost the entirety of the ‘domestic’ side of the base became FSCTE Manston (Fire Service Central Training Establishment).

2002 Mar

The proposed airport at Cliffe comes as a surprise.

2002 Aug

New apron and taxiway – 10 acres of concrete, £8 million.

2003 Jan

Manston snubbed by Goverment airport planners.

2003 May

EUjet start operating as an airline.

2004 Feb

Manston fined £52k for breaching S106.

2004 May

PlaneStation buys 30% of EUjet.

2004 Aug

EUjet starts flying from Manston to Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Dublin, Nice and Girona. KCC have invested £100k in EUjet.

2005 Jan

PlaneStation by the 70% of EUjet that they don’t already own.

2005 Jul

Cllr Sandy Ezekiel pledged that the local authority would “go into hard negotiations” with the airport owners over a revised Section 106.

EUjet and PlaneStation go into administration owing £25m. KCC lose their/our £100k.

2005 Aug

Infratil buy Manston from the administrators for £17m.

2005 Sep

Cllr Alex King criticised for his £100k punt – in view of a warning from officers that any investment would be “high risk”, the decision “beggared belief”.

2006 Jan

KCC’s investment in EUjet now reported to have been £121k. KCC have spent £50k in consultants’ fees looking at trans-Atlantic flights, and have allocated £265k for the Virginia venture.

2006 May

Manston’s 30 year old radar disabled by lightning strike.

Flights to Virginia announced – planned to start May 2007.

2006 Sep

Cosmos start taking bookings for flights to Virginia in May 2007.

Manston say state-of-the-art replacement radar will be installed by the end of the year.

2007 Feb

Cosmos pulls the plug on Virginia flights, having sold 800 of the necessary 100,000 tickets.

2008 Feb

Boris Johnson announces Boris Island.

2008 Sep

Seguro Travel, operating out of Manston, goes bust leaving 2,400 people abroad and scrapping holidays booked by a further 17,000 people.

2008 Oct

Manston’s 25 year MasterPlan forecasts 6 million passengers and half a million tonnes of freight by 2033


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