A decision that could pave the way for more night-time flights from Kent International Airport is expected this evening. Councillors in Thanet are due to vote on plans to extend the flight window, allowing planes to take off or land at Manston from 6am until 11.30pm.
Airport owner Infratil is in talks with a major European airline that wants to use the site for long-haul international cargo movements. The as yet unnamed company, reported to be British Airways, hopes to fly Boeing 747 aircraft into and out of the airport up to 11 times a week.
The local authority said the move would create up to 200 jobs but environmental campaigner Steve Dawe, spokesman for the Kent Green Party, claimed it represents the “thin end of the wedge” of expansion plans for the airport. Steve Higgins, founder of the Stop Manston Expansion Group, added:
“So many people stand to be affected by these proposals but we seem to have been forgotten about by our local councillors and MPs.”
South Thanet MP and former transport minister Dr Stephen Ladyman said he supports the controlled expansion of the airport. He said:
“There is a real hunger for local employment and the opportunity to create several hundred jobs is one that must be taken.”
kentonline 12th Feb 2009