The campaign group says night flights could actually damage Thanet’s economic growth. Protect Kent, the Campaign to Protect Rural England’s county branch, says there is little evidence that night flights at Manston Airport will significantly help the local economy. Campaigns manager Andrew Ogden said:
“The fact that Flybe are pulling out in March because they cannot fill planes is damning proof of the lack of demand for flights out of Manston. We simply cannot see how allowing night flights will help Manston grow as a passenger airport, and therefore generate both jobs and economic sustainability for the area.”
Business leaders in Thanet, including the chamber of commerce, recently called for the night flight plans to be given the go ahead by Thanet council. They argued it would be the only way the airport has a commercial future after the low cost airline Flybe pulled out of running domestic passenger flights.
The charity says the plans could actually damage the area’s growing tourism industry. Mr Ogden added:
“We consider that the only reason for night flights is to bring in more freight. This is not the kind of business that Thanet needs, as it will not employ the inflated numbers of people that Infratil [the airport’s owners] and business leaders are claiming it will.”
“We ask that there be a full and unrestricted public consultation before any night flights are allowed. This should be open and transparent, with all the facts available. This will enable the people of East Kent to weigh up the benefits and disadvantages of night flights and lobby Thanet District Council accordingly. It is only right they be given this opportunity, as it is their communities and environment that will be significantly affected by the implementation of night flights.”
kentnews 11th Jan 2012