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Number-crunching

Charles Buchanan (CEO, Manston Airport) from the night flights proposal:

Today some 110 staff are employed by the airport, with approximately a further 40 employed in servicing the operation of the airport. The airport currently generates £4.5m GVA (Gross Added Value) of which some £3.8m is within the Thanet economy … development in line with the published Master Plan would (by 2018) support direct employment of over 2,000 jobs with a further 1,000 indirect and induced jobs in the wider economy. This level of employment would generate £65m GVA.

Sandra Matthews-Marsh (CEO, Visit Kent) responding to RGF funding

Tourism in East Kent contributes more than £835 million to the local economy and supports almost 18,000 jobs.


Now consider the effect that the proposed night flight timetable will have on tourism in East Kent.

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  1. It could be very bad news for the developer of the Pleasurama site, sitting right under the flight path. It's taken years for this to get started and transform what is now a blot on the landscape into apartments, sea front cafes and a hotel and give Ramsgate tourism a rather large boost. There could easily be a hundred or more new jobs here. It could cost TDC a good few millions to sort out this site if the developer thinks it's no longer viable and drops out.

  2. Your comments about the size of the tourism industry as against the airport's potential economic benefits are absolutely right and everybody should be aware that the predictions made by Infratil are at the very least "optimistic". Consider also that London commuters – attracted by the fast rail link – won't want to spend their nights disturbed by planes when they have to get on the early train in the morning.Let's also think about entrepreneurs and small businesses who, although they may find the proximity of an airport useful, won't want to live under the flight path. So at a stroke we've killed tourism, the offer for big city workers and any chance of start up industries in Thanet. This needs concerted action – a highly visual mass protest before it's too late. Full marks to the 'clown' who turned up at the airport in full costume, but this needs to be bigger and better. Any ideas?I'm also concerned about the 'pro airport' letters that regularly appear in the paper. Generally it's true that turkeys don't vote for Christmas so I find the idea of this little band of staunch airport supporters with facts at their fingertips a little disturbing. Particularly when, as a writer, I've seen advertisements from major companies commissioning copywriters to write letters supporting sensitive commercial developments in local papers. Hmmm…

  3. Last night 1st of Nov the noise at 2230 from air craft landing and taking off was apalling – the whole of Ramsgate must have heard it. No noise monitors to protect the residents and a Tory council who are going to push Manston regardless of who and how many complain.Stargazer.

  4. Maurice Byford

    The main difference is that Tourism is an established business model and the airport proposal is highly speculative.The job figures quoted are completely unachievable and if you do actually test it against known growth patterns and anticipated air traffic models the actual job increases will be more in the order 77-79 additional jobs by 2018.The down side is that in order to create these small job increases the night flights will be necessary and will create misery for Thanet and Herne bay.In addition, once you set a precendent for Night Flights there will be no turning back and the arguments against increasing the frequencies will be hard to justify.