Manston Airport’s owner, Infratil Airports Europe, has posted a loss of £2.2 million in their interim report for the six months of the year up to September 30. Airport chief executive Matt Clarke blamed the loss of freight and charter holiday services and the recent rise in fuel prices. He said:
“The current economic situation highlights the benefits of a diversified portfolio of assets, with Infratil our parent company posting a 23 per cent rise in operating profit to NZ$203 million (£73 million) for the same period. The aviation industry as a whole has come through a challenging period and as a group we have not been immune to that, with high fuel prices affecting our customers and leading to the insolvency of several airline operators.”
Residents now have just under a month to respond to the draft master plan which was unveiled by Mr Clarke in October. The 100-page document, which closes consultation on December 19, contains details of developments including the lengthening and widening of the existing runway to accommodate larger aircraft, extending the present terminal and building a second, improving road and rail links, and the promise of 3,500 jobs by 2018, rising to 7,500 jobs after 25 years. Mr Clarke said:
“The outlook for the future remains extremely bright at Kent International as can be seen by the significant upturn in freight traffic in November as fuel prices have settled and the winter produce import season has commenced. In the meantime, we have used this period to lay the foundations for a successful future and have launched our draft Master Plan outlining our proposed future investment in this important community asset.”
The news was overshadowed a day later by the announcement that Stansted airport is to expand to accommodate an extra 10 million passengers a year from the Essex site.