NEWSFLASH: the real reasons Flybe quit Manston – click HERE
It makes sense to hear both sides of the story, and to hear some of the facts that Mr Buchanan might not tell you. If any other parish councils, residents associations, or other community groups are thinking of discussing night flights, do please feel free to invite the NoNightFlights group to send along someone to speak.
The parishioners of Manston voted in favour of night flights having heard one side of the story from Charles Buchanan. I have no idea why the parish Council didn’t let the parishioners hear a balanced view.
Manston airport is not proposing “as many as eight flights at night”, they are proposing unlimited night flights. The future of Manston airport is not dependent on night flights, it is dependent on sheer volume of traffic, be it passenger or freight. During the last 11 years, while it has been in private hands, operating without restrictions on its daytime activities Manston airport has failed to attract the necessary volume of traffic.
Infratil have not “invested” £40 million in the airport, they have lost £40 million on a bad investment. Cllr Dearing tells me that the parishioners were presented with the choice of vote for night flights or lose the airport – disingenuous to say the least.
Villagers from Manston have voiced support for the airport’s new night-time flying policy. Those attending an extraordinary meeting of Manston Parish Council last Friday (11th Nov) voted 36 to 7 in favour of supporting proposals to have as many as eight flights a night.
Airport chief executive Charles Buchanan attended the meeting to give a presentation and to take questions from the public, for the first time since Infratil submitted a request for a new policy and lifting of the ban on scheduled night flights to Thanet council last month. Mr Buchanan said:
“This noise policy is important because it will allow the airport to develop and allow the airport to bring economic value to the area.”
He told the meeting that the adoption of the new policy was “fundamental” to the success of the airport, and said more nights flights would create as many as 3,000 local jobs and bring £650,000 into the economy every year. Mr Buchanan warned that if the policy was rejected it could have detrimental affect on the airport’s future. He said:
“We have invested £40 million in this airport, and a large part of that is funding losses. If we don’t see any prospect of more night flights, then we have a big issue.”
After his presentation he took questions from the villagers representing both sides of the debate on night flights. The only parish councillor to dispute the proposals was John Dearing, who cast doubt on whether night flights would bring as many passengers and jobs as the master plan of airport owner Infratil claims.
Mr Dearing said the prediction that passengers numbers will increase to 2.2 million a year by 2018 was “desperately optimistic and deeply flawed”. He said:
“This is against a backdrop of rising fuel charges, financial crisis in Europe, and the growing evidence now that people are cutting back on oversea holidays. The master plan forecast was based on vastly out-of-date information, and is not an honest basis on which to press for night flights at Manston.”
Explaining the majority support for the airport, Manston Parish Council vice-chairman Bill Bell said:
“I suppose people feel as if they are part of the airport, it is a part of their history. Personally I live right by Manston airport and I haven’t got a problem with the proposals. I am ex-RAF and the sound of planes doesn’t effect me whatsoever.”
Mr Buchanan said he was pleased with the support from the village. He said:
“The airport shares its name with the village, so our relationship must be close. People have lived with the airport all their lives, they have grown up with the airport and they want to see it succeed and develop.”
thisiskent 18th Nov 2012