Home ... NNF ... Manston ... Manston winces in the glare of publicity

The Iran Air Fuel Fiasco has been an international PR disaster for the airport. As Maxim PR (the airport's own PR company) says on its website: "You can tell a lot about a person by the company they keep".

One consequence of this shambles is that all Manston's customers will be watched more closely in future, which may not please all of them.

Charles Buchanan's comments in this BBC article make it clear that it is the airport's desperation for money that led them into this geo-political minefield, and that they're giving up this revenue stream very reluctantly. Incidentally, this story makes a lot more sense if you replace the word "ethics" with the phrase "public relations"...

Manston winces in the glare of publicity

The Iran Air Fuel Fiasco has been an international PR disaster for the airport. As Maxim PR (the airport’s own PR company) says on its website: “You can tell a lot about a person by the company they keep”.

One consequence of this shambles is that all Manston’s customers will be watched more closely in future, which may not please all of them.

Charles Buchanan’s comments in this BBC article make it clear that it is the airport’s desperation for money that led them into this geo-political minefield, and that they’re giving up this revenue stream very reluctantly. Incidentally, this story makes a lot more sense if you replace the word “ethics” with the phrase “public relations”…


A Kent airport has stopped allowing aircraft from Iran’s national airline to make refuelling stops on return journeys from Heathrow. Kent International Airport at Manston said it made the decision in the last week amid the worsening diplomatic relationship between the UK and Iran.

Chief executive Charles Buchanan said the decision was the “right thing to do” for ethical reasons.

Iran Air had been refuelling at Manston airport for several months. Although its flights were able to land at Heathrow, they could not refuel there because US sanctions prevented Iran Air dealing with companies that had links to America. Manston, owned by Infratil, has no American trade connections.

Mr Buchanan said the airport had not breached any sanctions and that all the aircraft which landed at Manston had been cleared by the Civil Aviation Authority. The decision to stop refuelling Iran Air planes was made before this week’s closure of the British embassy in Tehran and Iranian embassy in London.

“As a commercial enterprise this was a profitable exercise for us but the sensitivities of dealing with Iran have changed. We are trying to make the airport as profitable as we can and everything we do is targeted towards that.

But clearly we do have to take the ethics of the situation into account and take a decision that is right in the wider context. Any revenue is significant and so it was a decision that we didn’t take lightly.”

BBC 1st Dec 2011

Check Also

Kent’s best pub gardens: The Dolphin, St Radigunds Street, Canterbury

The Dolphin, Canterbury This uncluttered garden in St St Radigunds Street offers sun-worshippers the option of …

No comments

  1. M.S.Lockwood

    As you will note from Mr Buchanan's own words and I quote 'We are trying to make the airport as profitable as we can and everything we do is targeted towards that'. And there you have it. Profit before ALL ELSE whether that be ethics, international aggreements where rogue states are concerned or our night time peace, PROFIT is king. It therefore follows that if, and God forbid, Manston is granted night flights that PROFIT will be the criteria and any jobs promised will be few and far between. As stated Manston exsists to make PROFIT not as a charity to create jobs.

  2. Couldn't agree more with MS Lockwood. This is another nail in their coffin & let us pray that the proposed new airport in the Thames does go ahead because that will DEFINITELY be end of Manston. By the way does anyone have any idea why the MOD retain their fire fighting antics at Manston, why they have security gates manned 24/7 & just what do they have to hide in there? Maybe it's just documents stating how much they, & we, pay Infatril to be there !!

  3. Wibbly wobbly wallabee

    Did I note the dulcet tones of an Iranian Jet landing yesterday evening around 17:22?

  4. I think the MOD stay at Manston because of the investment that has been made in the past with the new school, accommodation, fire ground etc. The gates are guarded because it is MOD property, the land that it sits on is not rented from Infratil or belongs to Infratil… when the sale went through in 1999 it was for the airfield only.

  5. As I went past on Tuesday evening an Iran Air plane was being refuelled on the apron. Looks like somebody was telling porkies when they said that they had stopped refuelling them. Presumably some form of weasel words will be cooked up to illustrate how we all got the wrong end of the stick (including the local and national press). But my maxim is that there is no point in listening to somebody if you can't believe a word they say.

  6. Local Resident

    Should let the Yanks know what is happening at Manston with the Iran airliners still re-fueling there after the announcement it had stopped. Profits will be the reason this is going on still. How desperate do you need to be? At least there is the MOD fire training school nearby, opposite the Spitfire & Hurricane Museum. They send trainees out every Friday morning to practise emergency driving through the streets of Thanet. You must have seen the red fire engine with it's flashing lights and constant siren driving slowly around the local towns!If one of these old aircraft crashes on the town then lets hope it's on a Friday morning between 9.00 and 10.00. Give them some real action training. (Sorry Thanet that was uncalled for).

  7. Read my other post igloo, the last flight would be Wednesday……that's the day after Tuesday…….

  8. I knew I wasn't seeing things I was walking my dog at the top of Tothill Street Minster when that Iranian jet took off, I could clearly see the motif on the tail lit up. Why would anybody be surprised, Infratil have always been a bunch of liars so this should be no surprise. Shame on you Buchanan.