As part of the continuing PR offensive, Manston airport has roped in David Foley to bang the drum for night flights, as if they’re not noisy enough already. The local papers are describing David Foley as “business leaders”, despite the fact that there is very obviously just one of him. More of this in another post.
News that the airline operator Flybe is scrapping Edinburgh service sparks new demands for more flexible flight schedules.
Business leaders in Thanet have demanded that night flights be given the go ahead at Manston airport in order to attract passenger airlines after Flybe confirmed it was to scrap its service to Edinburgh in March. The firm said the route was not proving financially viable – thus delivering the latest blow to the terminal as it looks to establish itself within the mass market.
David Foley from Thanet and East Kent Chamber of Commerce said:
“Flybe has been a very good user at Manston and has brought in a new dimension but it is not the only airline in the world. If we can get an international carrier in then that will dwarf the few domestic flights Flybe operated.”
Flybe also cancelled its Manchester service from the airport last year. In 2005, budget airline EUjet launched a host of services at Manston, but they collapsed due to a lack of demand.
The airport’s owner Infratil has put in an application to Thanet council for more flights between 11pm and 7am. It says by 2018 they would average around 3.2 flights per night, but campaign groups are opposed to the idea.
Mr Foley argued airport expansion should be given the go ahead because it offered Thanet the best employment opportunities in the medium term. He said:
“The airport says it will deliver 3,000 jobs by 2018. The increase in air passenger duty is not good for airlines but it does put a greater emphasis on airports that can serve northern European hub airports. Manston is in a wonderful position to do that. Infratil is a very different company from EUjet. It has deeper pockets. It has pumped around £40m into Manston. It has been a benign investor in the best sense of the word. It is in the best position to plan its future strategy.”
Manston airport chief executive Charles Buchanan said:
“The decision by Flybe reinforces the need for the airport’s proposals for limited and managed scheduled night-time flights to be agreed with Thanet District Council in order to compete with other national and regional airports.”
Thanet council leader Cllr Clive Hart, said:
“This is obviously disappointing news and will have an impact on the east Kent economy, but in the current economic climate, we can understand Flybe’s decision. As we have made clear, the council will be consulting local people on the issue of night flights in the New Year.”
kentnews.co.uk 1st Jan 2012
If we are to maintain our schools, emergency services, social services, defence commitments and all the heavy demands we place on government at all levels, it is essential that we support the businesses that fund the public sector. This is particularly true in Thanet which has the highest unemployment in Kent.
The airport at Manston represents our best bet to create sustainable, worthwhile jobs in Thanet in the medium and long term. Inward investors with £40 million to spend on improving our infrastructure are in short supply. We must cherish Infratil and remind the doubters that Manston Airport has been in operation since 1915.
David Foley, Thanet & East Kent Chamber.
thisiskent 17th Nov 2011