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Where do Manston’s job forecasts come from?

Only the crumbliest, flakiest statistics…

There is an outfit called Airports Council International Europe (ACI Europe), a trade body for airport operators, whose key objective is:

“Cohesion between airports and industry partners in order to improve the public perception of civil aviation and in particular to ensure a clear understanding of the social and economic benefits of environmentally sustainable air service and the conditions necessary for the delivery of these benefits.”

In 2002, they commissioned York Aviation to produce a report entitled “The social and economic impact of airports in Europe”. York Aviation describe themselves as:

“A specialist firm of air transport consultants providing a complete consultancy service for the airports business, including aviation policy advice, economic impact assessment, air traffic forecasting, and specialist advice on airport capacity assessment and planning.”

York Aviation is an associate member of ACI Europe.

  • Their report was based on data from 2001, and was published in December 2004. Get it here.
  • Less than a fifth (59 of 331, 18%) of ACI Europe’s member airports were analysed to produce the report.
  • At the levels of workload that apply to Manston’s Master Plan (between 1 and 4 million passengers a year) they analysed 11 of 80, or 14% of the ACI Europe member airports.
  • From this sample, they arrived at an “arithmetic average” of 1,034 jobs per million passengers. Compare this to the actual figures in the UK at the time in these graphs.
  • York Aviation’s forecast of 2,070 direct jobs at Manston in 2018 is based on applying this number to the 2 million passengers a year projected in Manston’s Master Plan.

Job forecasts based on ten year old statistics, from a tiny sample, applied to an “aspirational” growth projection, seven years into the future. I think raising Thanet’s hopes on the strength of this is simply cruel.

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