Charles Buchanan, CEO of Manston Tumbleweed Airport, has launched the next round of his campaign to make the airport more sellable. By his own admission, the airport is losing £5m a year, and the Kiwi overlords (Infratil) are desperate to rid themselves of this continual drain on resources.
Infratil are up-market barrow boys, buying companies to asset-strip or invest in, and then selling them on or milking them for all they’re worth. Manston was one of their rare bad calls and is, quite frankly, an embarrassment – it always gets the very last (single) paragraph in their lengthy monthly reports to investors.
They have decided that the only way to get anyone else to swallow this bitter pill is to sweeten it with a sprinkling of night flights, making Manston the only 24 hour freight airport in the south east. Of course, this isn’t how they’re selling the night flights bid to Thanet District Council, far from it.
The yarn they’re spinning for TDC is that their fairy tale Master Plan requires “based” airlines and aircraft, i.e. Manston is their “home” airport. And that based airlines and aircraft require longer flying days. And that means night flights.
This dubious logical chain leads Mr Buchanan to tell the world at large, and TDC in particular, that if he doesn’t get his way over night flights, Manston will shut. Clearly the hope is that TDC will buckle under this shameless blackmail, grant the night flights, and Infratil will then stand a slightly better chance of finding a buyer for their least successful investment.