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Manston

EasyJet commits to Southend Airport

Some interesting things to note here:

  • 800,000 passengers = 150 airport jobs
  • EasyJet chose Southend in preference to Manston
  • Stobart Group invested £60m of their own money in the airport

London to get its sixth international airport in Southend - just in time for the Olympics

The budget airline easyJet unveiled ambitious plans yesterday to transform Southend-on-Sea airport into a rival for Gatwick and Stansted. It means London will be served by a sixth international airport in time for the 2012 Olympics.

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Council reveals unsuccessful bid to develop Manston services

It's like pulling teeth

Kent County Council has been forced to reveal details of its unsuccessful £10.8 million bid for Government money to develop services for Manston airport.  Campaigners, No Night Flights, challenged KCC's refusal to release details of the Regional Growth Fund (RGF) application.

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Manston calls for ‘congestion charge’ on bigger airports

Special pleading, spineless bleating

Bosses at Manston are calling on the government to implement a "congestion charge" at London's main airports because of the "devastating impact" of Air Passenger Duty (APD) on smaller airports. The proposal is part of Manston's submission to the government's consultation on APD, which it is estimated could cost the public, visitors and businesses an extra £1bn a year.

Manston is arguing that the tax will severely hit regional economies, and in particular the tourism sector, by hindering the growth of regional airports. As a result Manston is proposing that the most effective way to deliver the government's "Better not Bigger" initiative is to set APD levels at a lower level for uncongested regional airports with significant available capacity to help alleviate congestion and improve the passenger experience at the main London airports.

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Manston boss claims it wasn’t a “sweetener”

Charles Buchanan, chief executive, Kent International Airport, ManstonBitter-sweetener

Manston's boss has defended efforts to persuade the government to underwrite the costs of a new service out of the Kent airport. Chief executive Charles Buchanan said subsidies from the public purse were commonplace and it was unfair to describe them as sweeteners.

His comments follow our disclosure that KCC and Infratil, which operates the airport, had sought to persuade ministers to provide £600,000 to underwrite a twice-daily service out of Manston for the first three years of its operation.

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£600k airport ‘sweetener’

The government has been urged to offer a £600,000 "sweetener" to an unnamed commercial airline planning a new daily service from Manston airport, it has emerged.

The airport operator Infratil is in advanced confidential talks with an unidentified airline which has plans for a twice-daily service to an unnamed European destination from next April. Now it has been revealed Kent County Council and operators Infratil pressed for a taxpayers’ handout to underwrite the costs of the service for three years, according to documents released under the Freedom of Information Act.

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Air Anon at Manston

From the once-secret KCC funding bid

There seems to be an endless supply of consultants, ready willing and able to tell the emperor of the day how lovely his clothes are, and how much lovelier the next suit will be.

Next up in line is an outfit called Steer Davies Gleave who aim "to provide unrivaled advice that helps deliver better transportation solutions to everyone, everywhere". And freedom from the nagging pedantry of spell-checkers, presumably.

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Motion calls for a policy on scheduled night flights

The Thanet Labour group has tabled a resolution over night flights from Manston airport at the district council's next meeting. The motion calls for the council to adopt a policy of not allowing scheduled or planned flights between 11pm and 7am and to rule that any arrivals or departures in an extra hour either side be subject to a fine.  Exceptions to the ban would include "mercy flights" and flights for medical emergencies under Labour's proposals.

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Sound-activated video recording

Tapping into the wisdom of crowds, and I know you're a wise lot...

We're VERY keen to set up sound-activated video recording systems along (and near) Manston's flight paths, particularly in Ramsgate and the surrounding area.

The idea is to be able to automatically capture movies of planes as they go past, or over (or over and over and over, in the case of training circuits).

At the moment, we don't care if this is an off-the-shelf solution, or some brilliant bodged together Heath Robinson-esque invention - so long as it works.

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A closer look at that bid

The once-secret KCC funding bid

Bureaucracy being what it is, KCC and Infratil were obliged to spell out in detail the brazen cheek of their cash plea. Do please remember that Infratil is a New Zealand-based investment company, and that whatever profits it can (finally) squeeze out of this lemon of an airport will be going straight back to their antipodean investors, still smarting from years of multi-million pound losses.

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Yet another job forecast

From the once-secret KCC funding bid

What a wondrous thing is the Freedom of Information Act. Without it, we wouldn't know what KCC had said to the money-bags at BIS in their plea for free money. They have repeatedly tried to dodge FOI requests, until finally cornered by our tireless truth-seekers.

It will come as no surprise to the more cynical of our international readership that it's not just the tone and emphasis of what KCC and Infratil say in their bid that differs from what they've been saying publicly, it's the numbers too.

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