Home ... NNF ... Manston ... Reality hits home, Infratil leave town

Delusion has finally been swept away by the onslaught of reality and Infratil are throwing in the towel. This has been a long time coming, and Nostrildamus predicted it in November 2010.


Manston Airport has been put up for sale. Bosses at Kent International Airport told staff at 10.30am yesterday (Friday) morning. The shock decision was made by owners Infratil. The New Zealand-based company also plans to sell its airport at Prestwick near Glasgow.

Reality hits home, Infratil leave town

Delusion has finally been swept away by the onslaught of reality and Infratil are throwing in the towel. This has been a long time coming, and Nostrildamus predicted it in November 2010.


Manston Airport has been put up for sale. Bosses at Kent International Airport told staff at 10.30am yesterday (Friday) morning. The shock decision was made by owners Infratil. The New Zealand-based company also plans to sell its airport at Prestwick near Glasgow.

IoT Gazette 8th March 2012


This is obviously bad news for all those employed at the airport. Manston was clearly one of Infratil’s rare bad investments, and the workforce at the airport did their best to make a silk purse out of a flying pig’s ear, but to no avail. After having been strung along for so long, I hope that they get decent redundancy packages from Infratil. Except Charles Buchanan, and whoever runs their complaints department, obviously.

One excellent aspect of this is that TDC now have an unmissable opportunity to start with a clean slate. If Manston is sold as an airport, the Council can enter into fresh negotiations with the new owners and arrive at a planning permission that satisfies the owner’s need for a stable long-term framework within which to develop their business plans, and the Council can write a new S106 agreement that is effective in protecting the interests of the residents of north-east Kent.

Have a look at these posts for a positive take on how we could get a win-win result.

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No comments

  1. Den Ramsgate

    Excellent news! Any job losses are sad news but I'd rather that than me having to have sleepless nights, go mad, have to sell up and move etc. Well done to all those who worked hard to oppose night flights and all those who opposed the Charles and Gerry Show in the local press!Quality of life is about more than having a well paid job. I'll settle for sanity and living in my home town of Ramsgate with a poor wage and rubbish pension. As the song goes….. It's not about the money, money etc etc

  2. Bad landings

    I can see all of the headless politicians/officers running around like errrr headless chickens blaming everyone but themselves and of course no plan B?

  3. Ramsgate Resident

    Sad day for Manston staff, and TDC now need to pull their fingers out and decide what else they would allow as a development on the site. An airport obviously does not work – two operators have now failed. What next TDC?

  4. Den RamsgateGive me your address so when I get made redundant I can come knocking on your door for a hand out, comments like that are unwanted and make me sick…..but as long as you can sleep at nigh thats ok then….how about my sleepless nights worrying about how I am going to pay my mortgage!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. This is only a pause in the struggle. All indications are that nothing will change except the name of the owners. The flawed S106 must be replaced by something with more teeth, with the same sort of restrictions on night flying as exist in all other UK commercial airports. Noise monitoring must be taken out of the control of both the Council and the airport and penalties for infringement strictly enforced. I would also like to see it impossible for anyone involved in local politics having any financial interest in the airport or its operations in any way.

  6. Herne Bay Resident

    What will happen now??? Will the airport be sold as an airport???I am so sorry that in today's climate more people have or will lose their jobs, but I feel extremely happy at the prospect of not being woken up at 4.50am, and flights at 11pm.It may be insensitive but the majority of people would like a peaceful existance in their own homes!!!!

  7. As an avid anti-night flight supporter this is terrible news!!I know that most people including myself WANT a thriving DAYTIME operation at Manston.Why are Infratil being so heavy handed making everyone redundant? Most Companies would keep their airport operation's running whilst looking for a new buyer? Unless their whole business has gone into administration?It's like Infratil are throwing their toys out of the pram or is this some sort of ploy?@Den -Your comments are not cool!

  8. "Two operators have now failed" I can assure you that the third one wont

  9. Doug Prangell

    Having spent sixty years under the flight path of London Airport and including ten years under City Airport flight path I moved to Kent for a bit if peace and quiet not to be under the flight path of another airport day and night. Whilst I genuinely feel sorry for those losing their jobs used properly the site could make many more jobs including perhaps farm land which would save more polluted air miles bringing food into the country.

  10. JAYNE RAMSGATE

    I live at Nethercourt and my property is right under the flight path, so low that you can nearly see the pilot, I feel sorry the people who may lose there jobs, but I'm not sorry that there won't be any night flights.

  11. Gerry, it's more than two operators that have failed. However, given your ineptitude with a calculator demonstrated in last week's IoTG I suppose we shouldn't be surprised.

  12. They haven't actually said there would be job losses just that the airport is up for sale and would be sold as a going concern. I would have thought they will still be seeking night flights.

  13. Dear TimIn your haste to get one over on me you may have noticed that those five words were in quotes, had you bothered to look you should have noticed that it fell from the fingers of one of your own.

  14. JAYNE RAMSGATE

    Why do some people always get so personal when commenting on a subject?

  15. So it's been a really good afternoon for some of us today though I suspect it's probably not been a good one for a lot of you. More sleepless night and not a plane in sight – yet!Some of us have known for sometime that the airport would be put up for sale and from what I've been hearing about who is in the running to buy it, I would, if I was in your in your extremely small shoes, be seriously contemplating whipping on the old brown trousers at this very moment. Stand by for a 24 hour operation coming to an airport near you very soon.

  16. good news to hear that the the people of manston airport have put it up for sale , being under the flight path with a family was a worry with the threat of 747,s at night , now the executives can line their pockets with money from the sale instead of peoples lives

  17. That's what happens Jayne when lots of bitter old men get together

  18. You always know when Gerry is getting concerned when he gets spiteful and pretends to know things about the future!!

  19. JAYNE RAMSGATE

    I just find it very sad that people can't comment on something without getting your head bitten off whether they're old people or not, it shouldn't happen.

  20. Jayne. Oh Dear is just a "troll" who attempts to foment trouble. If we were all pro-night flights, he would be anti. It is generally assumed that Oh Dear is the nom de guerre of Gerry O'Donnell, failed ex councillor and ice cream salesman of this parish. Obviously, in this capacity he is well equipped to know who is buying the airfield, PWC probably phone him up for his opinion.

  21. Anyone see Sir Roger on Meridian Tonight? Words fail me. Glad he's not my MP. 10000 jobs!

  22. At last. It was a mistake for the Council to insist that Manston remained as an airport when the MoD decided to sell up. It was a mistake to continue to insist that it remained an airport when Wiggins went bust. Let's hope that our Council wakes up and doesn't make the same miistake for a third time. They should be making it known that other offers for the airport site will be considered and that a mixed development would be considered. However, before allowing Infratil to go anywhere, the Council should insist that they pay the full cost of cleaning up and decontaminating the site.

  23. It's not a good time to think Infratil are really selling up, just look @ the time they decided to sellup not knowing TDC's decision strange, I think they're pulling another stroke by keeping it going until sold. Seems stupid to me bearing in mind how much they're losing.No no no this is a CON they know TDC will be worried as to the amount of jobs will be lost [mind you I don't think there's anywhere near the amount of jobs they're talking about over there] they know how easy it is to con TDC into giving them what they want then the for sale signs will come down then they've got waht they want.Roger Gale I think should retire he has'nt got a clue, Gerry not a bad fella I suppose but he has'nt got much idea of this business, & isn't it strange only one person is complaining about losing his job. Be careful it's not over yet I bet Charles is still smilling.

  24. It would appear from this story that the vast majority of job losses are to do with Flybe pulling out, and absolutely nothing to do with residents protestations about night-flights. I hope this will be borne in mind by all of us when the retribution hysteria starts :).http://www.kentonline.co.uk/kentonline/news/2011/december/23/flybe.aspx

  25. Fan of G O'D

    Gerry/Oh Dear, The airport does not have a buyer. If it did, it would have been sold.It's currently on the market, hence the publicity today. Same as Edinburgh airport is. Same as Prestwick is. Same as Stansted is/will be. Difference between these and Manston? Passengers.The two major airports operators in the south east would not be allowed to bid. Freight is mostly (90%+) taken in the hold of passenger aircraft. Two operators have failed to make a go of the airport during the greatest boom in air travel the globe has ever seen. Good luck to anyone keeping this as a going concern.Which mystery buyer has been telling Roger Gale MP and GO'D Himself that they will take it over and start doing business that will shake the dead from their graves? I think what we are seeing is a couple of tired old men afraid to admit they were wrong and saying anything to keep up the pretence.

  26. Who would Manston announce that they are selling before waiting for the outcome of the consultation? Because they already have a buyer that's why.

  27. I think the start of Southend airport is another nail in Manstons coffin

  28. Or of course because their shareholders have finally lost patience with the loss making European operation.

  29. "Because they already have a buyer that's why"For crying out loud Gerry. Do you never learn? You've been wrong about everything and you still keep spouting rubbish. When are you going to realise that you simply aren't in the loop on this one (or any other one, as far as I can tell). You took a ridiculous antagonistic stance which means that the people who have real inside information don't talk to you. Consequently, everything you post is just made up. Engage your tiny brain for a moment and have a think about it. If your new petrol-head friends knew about the sale, how come they didn't tell you? Yes, that's right. They aren't in the circle of trust either. You're all in a circle of your own and it's way off centre.As for having a buyer, ponder on who is going to buy an airport which does not have an EIA, risk assessment, discharge consent or planning permission. You'd have to be nuts.

  30. 'Oh Dear' seems a trifle miffed me thinks.

  31. You know what my small insignificant friend, the only person who has been wrong in all of this is you thinking I'm this Gerry geezer. I'm assuming that he's another one that you have attempted to bully in the past but who rightly chose to ignore you. Must be quite galling that and such an affront to your oversized ego?You ask the question "Who would buy an airport etc etc etc – well somebody has and far from being "nuts" they are incredibly successful at what they do. Sleep well . . . for now!

  32. Why assume the new owner will use the land as an airport? Surely there must be several more profitable uses for it?

  33. Last Airport standing

    Oh DearYou do not engage PWC to sell off an asset, if you have a buyer. I do hope Lord of nothing much at all, and more importantly our Laura insist that PWC inform all the interested parties the sheer cost of dealing with the outstanding planning issues. If troll (Oh Dear) lost his personal bigotry and prejudices and thought things out, he would surely be able to argue more effectively instead of going on about clowns and the like.I would like to know why Lord of nothing much at all can prejudice his position on chairing an Airport committee yet come out with same drivel that has hamstrung this Island due to the prized cow syndrome that has become Manston worthless airport. So why is it that an MP can protect at all cost a Private Interest over the larger Public interests?We also have an issue of plan B which would bring more jobs etc to the prized cow area, but who in official circles is going to grow a backbone and deal with it?

  34. Maurice Byford

    Does anyone know how much it is up for?I am curious as I wonder if it could be a Dover Harbour proposition, where all the residents of Thanet and Herne Bay could be Shareholders and Owners.From a business perspective it is perfectly logical for Infratil to throw the towel on a loss making venture especially when there will be some doubt as to the viability of even night freight without day passenger services.But it does seem to me that the Airport should not be written off as a business venture. It has huge potential, but my concern is that with most of its income going into the likes of Buchanan's large pockets it was never going to break even. Each airline that has tried to run services has always seemed to me to be doing too much, too wrong.Please ignore the provacateur loner that is Oh Dear. If you ignore him then he becomes simply the wino on the street swearing and cussing at anything and everything. A figure to be pitied and ignored.

  35. Fan of G O'D

    I do pity Oh dear plus the other (same?) trolls posting here and elsewhere on the Thanet blogosphere. "in six months time you'll know what night flights are". No we didn't.""BAWC have decided to leave stansted and come to Manston". No they didn't."A service to a European hub with a reputable carrier will start imminently". No it hasn't."'Manston already has a buyer". No, it hasn't.Buyers for airports, especially in the south east, are going to be thin on the ground. Do you honestly think Infratil would hire PWC to Up the price and potentially scare them off?Talk up the asset, get some publicity, talk of mystery buyers. Look at what else Charles Manston has been rumour mongering over the past few years and has turned out to be complete bollocks. Don't you Manston lovers get it? He's played you all for utter fools.

  36. Someone please send Roger G a picture of the aircraft that are using Manston, er, correction did use Manston and also a picture of our lovely town as it is now, because Roger still thinks it is 1917 with horse and carts, and spouts on about 80 million stations to keep the airport afloat, he talks hot air out of his rear end. Let's get control of this non-productive area of land and build ourselves a huge leisure centre that will draw crouds for miles around. Stargazer

  37. Stargazer you're on the money! A Westwood X being built at Manston+Leisure centre/waterpark+Parkway station to allow access for the people. No more congestion around the current Westwood site and less traffic coming into the heart of Thanet. Everyone would have come away happy. Even MP Gale. And you would still have had room for a small airstrip! The idea of airport expansion, at an economic, environment or whatever level, just didn`t make sense. It appeared to be in direct conflict with the TDC's expressed development plan for the three prominent areas of Thanet. As one of the poorest/deprived areas of the country I would hope more thought would be given to the well-being of this comunity.

  38. Local business woman

    It's simple, isn't it? Infratil announced the sale of Prestwick and Manston at the same time. Why? Because Infratil promises a 20% return to shareholders and the two UK airports together generate a loss. The investor grapevine says that the shareholders have been pressurising Infratil to ditch both airports (but particularly Manston which they see as having no track record of success and no likelihood of future success) and to reinvest the sale proceeds in something that will make money.So, we have had three commercial owners of Manston, each of which has walked away from it because they can't make money out of it. Is that an asset that people are queuing up to buy? The big money boys say not. Well, not as an airport. But there IS money out there for a different business venture on that site. Let's hope that TDC makes it clear to Infratil and the market that they would consider a change of use for Manston.Lastly, if this sale were as a result of pressure by No Night Flights, then Infratil would not be selling Prestwick. No, this sale is the fruition of the plans that Infratil publicised way before the night flight application came in, i.e. to withdraw from under-performing assets and to invest the money in something that will make money.

  39. Some of the NNF soothsayers appear to have been right. Infratil may only want night flights so they can sell the airport off! The positive spin of the airport sale from Buchanan is symptomatic of the beguiling language he has always used when engaging the local community on the issue of night flights. What a bullshit artist, and frankly a bad manager given this track record of airport misuse!Even now they talk about Manston as an alternative to Boris Island! They remind me of some of the unsavory estate agents I've dealt with in the past!Unless the planning and legals concerned with the airport are professionally solved there will be nothing to stop another crap outfit from trying the same behavior again!

  40. JR Herne bay

    Having put Manston airport up for sale Mr Buchanan is now saying it has a lot of facilities and potential. Perhaps considering all its advantages he could explain why it is now being sold and why he & his predecessors have been unable to make it a success!

  41. RGG-Ramsgate seafront

    How about a Centre Parks – this would bring in jobs and the tourists that we badly need!!!!!!

  42. Business woman wrote: "The investor grapevine says that the shareholders have been pressurising Infratil to ditch both airports (but particularly Manston which they see as having no track record of success and no likelihood of future success)." The bit in brackets is a complete fabrication and is a piece of blatant disinformation. It never ceases to amaze me the length that some people will go to on here to either rewrite history or trot out a string of falsehoods in an attempt to back up their already flimsy arguments!

  43. Funny, my broker has been advising me that Infratil were a bad proposition for a while. They're a big name in NZ and my cousin, who lives in Auckland, says that the buzz there is that they plan to pull out of the northern hemisphere completely. NZ has not been too badly affected by the global financial problems so it makes some sense for a big Kiwi firm to pull back for a while.

  44. Oh Dear:"no track record of success" – it made an average 3-4 million annual loss since they bought it. They are an investment company, duty-bound to make profit for their share-holders."no likelihood of future success" – which is why they are selling it.

  45. Dennis Franklin

    So that's what its all been about, Infratil have just been trying to fatten the airport up for a quick sale! They are reported to be millions of pounds in debt, so they may be going into administration soon. Its shows they didn't give a flying **ck about the people of Thanet, they were just after making a fast buck! This may an opportunity for TDC to make sure if the airfield gets sold, better democratic controls are introduced in favour of the people.

  46. The above post demonstrates exactly my earlier point. "Going into administration soon" – yeh, yeh, yeh. if you say so. Somebody have a word with these people please!

  47. Manston will perform well in the right hands. Infratil's problem airport is Prestwick. Prior to that it was Lubek. But the real problem is that Infratil just haven't been very good at operating airports

  48. Oh Dear you appear to be the expert on the future of the airport, why don't you tell us what's going on if you know? Your regular comments that attempt to debunk the contributors to threads here, indicate that you feel very important and may well work at the airport and like Charles want to keep talking the airport up to attract future investors.I think you're in a state of denial, as the business plan at Manston has failed miserably and you have lost your existing divestors much money.Grow some balls and tell us your big secret, we are all listening!

  49. Cripes Oh Dear you're blaming Charles now…this is a sorry state of affairs!

  50. Oh Dear / McQ, you still haven't told us your big secret?Come on big man!

  51. Local business woman

    Oh Dear I'm interested that you think that only the comment that I put in brackets "is a complete fabrication and is a piece of blatant disinformation." I assume that means that you accept my other remarks to be correct.As for your accusation, I can assure you that the investor grapevine is saying just that. Moreover, the first part of that comment is an undeniable fact – Manston has no track record of success. Secondly, many serious investors are saying that Manston has no future as an airport. Are they right? Well, if someone buys it as an airport, we'll find out in time. However, regardless of what you think of Manston's future, the people I talk to won't put their money in it as an airport. I don't see how you can accuse me of "complete fabrication" and "blatant disinformation" when I'm reporting what I hear in the market.

  52. Infratil basically lost its interest in Europe when they rid themselves of Luebeck, that's when the real rot started, FlyBe's decision to pull out of Manston even though the loads were above expectations and was only brought about by the airline's dodgy financial position certainly didn't help and finally TDCs Labour group hardly covered itself in glory. So there we have it but for those rubbing their hands with glee at the prospect of a large building site suddenly springing up in its place or shock horror, a waste incinerator, you might like to know that already there are two parties vying to be the new owners. Those night flights might be a lot closer than you think

  53. Oh Dear. put up or shut up. You are no better placed to know this than anyone else so name names or crawl back under your stone

  54. "FlyBe's decision to pull out of Manston even though the loads were above expectations and was only brought about by the airline's dodgy financial position certainly didn't help". Have you not read http://www.flybe.com/corporate/investors/presentations/2011-12-half-year-09112011.pdf. Doesn't look like an airline with a dodgy financial position. Looks more like a well run airline recognising that a passenger service on a peninsula is always going to be a loser.

  55. So Oh Dear/McQ or whoever. You are now Roger Gales informant? Even though the BBC suggested there were several buyers, he says he was told one or two parties were interested. You now suggest they're 'vying' to be the new owners.You are clearly unprepared to reveal your identity or your information sources. You are either delusional or a corporate lackey. Either way you still offer nothing of value or factual interest, and several veiled threats. So whether you are an ice-cream salesman or Mr Manston's flying juggernaut charge-hand, you have failed and are as useful as chocolate teapot of as believable as a flying boar.

  56. Local Resident

    Who is this antagonist 'Oh Dear' ? he/she spouts so much trash, what an idiot. If he knows who is buying Manston then why doesn't he just tell us ? Tim Clark, 'Fan of God' and 'Local Business Woman' have more sense in their little fingers than this twerp would ever have. He is only here to wind everyone up. Someone pull his plug !Manston has never been a success story. Even the MOD got rid of it as it is of no use. Since it's sale it has been failure after failure after failure. Who would want to waste even more money in this place? It would be a much better option to use that land for housing instead of building on local farmland next to Westwood Cross.

  57. Has anyone noticed that a plot of land at Manston Airport is for sale in the local paper – use quoted "HOTEL" What's happening here I'm confused!!!

  58. More misinformation. "Even the MOD got rid of it as it is of no use." As the direct result of a major cost cutting exercise which included just about every other RAF airfield in the country.

  59. Oh Tim, if you could take off the blinkers you might see the Light. Once you start poking about beneath the surface you can quickly discover why not everything in the garden is rosy.

  60. Local Landlord

    "a passenger service on a peninsula is always going to be a loser" well said Tim Clark! Basic logic has always said that is the case.Any potential passengers in West Kent are closer to Gatwick and/or London City.Any in Sussex Surrey are closer to Gatwick & Heathrow.Any in Essex are closer to Stanstead.Always has been so and always will be, so this gives Manston the enormous catchment area of… North East Kent! Hmmm.Yet poor old Roger Gale, and poor old TDC keep taking whatever bulls**t the successive owners of Manston (whoever they may be!) feed them, like a couple of old Foie Gras Geese.Ten million passengers, ten thousand jobs…yeah, yeah, yeah.The definition of madness? To keep doing the same thing and expect a different result! Doh! :-PGet BRAVE TDC, Disneyland Paris, Alton Towers etc. etc. were all just bits of land until someone had some VISION!

  61. Must be past Oh Dear's bed time

  62. "The real problem is that Infratil just haven't been very good at operating airports."This week's Thanet Times featured a shoddy piece of research on an airline called Skyways, which was coming to Manston 50 years ago. Shoddy, because Skyways was already in financial difficulties when the Gazette published the original article. Within six months their planes were bought by a Stansted-based company and the Manston flights never happened. And this is the story of Manston. All hype and bluster, with the Gazette happy to print whatever was given to them. In reality Manston has simply been a long succession of failures. I don't accept that this is all because the people operating Manston have been incompetent. I think the evidence is overwhelming that it is poorly situated and not commercially viable as a passenger airport. This was all pointed out in a consultants' report, delivered to TDC in advance of the RAF departing. So, why did TDC and KCC push ahead with trying to turn it into the next London airport? After ten wasted years and millions of wasted pounds it's time to oust the wishful thinkers in favour of hard-nosed commercial reality.

  63. I have just had a very entertaining 1/2 hour reading these comments, gave me a good laugh, Oh Dear seems like you're on a loser, you are out numbered here pal. I have a great idea, why not make the airport into a horse race track, they already have the nice new stable block, spectator centre built down the runway with hospitality suites, think of the jobs that would create. Yes this is sarcasm, but thinking about it maybe it would work.

  64. According to Meridian news BA cargo are interested in moving from Stansted to Manston to become a cargo hub:http://www.itv.com/meridian-east/manston-on-sale55669/

  65. Fan of G O'D

    So meridian tonight is talking of BAWC moving down here again. BAWC who said no a few years ago.So are British airways going to start buying airports?Please. The morons peddling this rubbish – Charles Manston, dave foley and roger gale – need to wake up.The guy from cpre was even saying that if freight comes down to Manston from elsewhere it solves the London capacity issue. FREIGHT IS MOSTLY CARRIED IN THE HOLD OF PASSENGER AIRCRAFT. How do these people manage to get themselves dressed??

  66. See Oh Dear's mum won't let him play with his computer this morning

  67. A hub is something at the centre. I fail to see how an area with only two roads out of it can in any way be called a hub.

  68. manston airport, last one out turn the lights off ,

  69. Oh Dear can't tell you anything in advance because he doesn't know anything. I hear he's even managed to isolate himself from the morning coffee club.

  70. Blah, blah, blah . . . so and so said this, CPRE said that and even the resurrection of Skyways from 50 years ago in a miserable, insipid attempt at raising the morale of the already beaten. You've lost the battle and the war[HBM: Oh Dear posted this at 3:31am]