No haste = no need
OK, let’s just make sure we’ve got this straight…
The night flights that Manston is hankering after have been portrayed as essential, crucial, make-or-break. Without them, so we are told, the airport won’t be able to deliver on its fairytale Master Plan.
I find this VERY hard to square with (a) any facts in the real world, and (b) the airport’s conduct over the last year. If night flights really did matter so much, why would they spend a YEAR dragging their heels?
Sep 2010: Manston submits its night flying proposal, backed up by the report it commissioned from Bickerdike Allen. A shambolic public meeting at Chatham House demonstrates the unpopularity of night flights, and makes Bill Hayton a household name for all the wrong reasons.
Oct 2010: Ramsgate Town Council has its own mini-consultation and rejects night flights.
Nov 2010: TDC get a technical review report from consultancy Bureau Veritas on the airport’s proposals, which concludes that the costs outweigh the benefits. TDC cancels the public consultation on the day it was supposed to start, stating that Manston’s proposals were too unclear and lacked economic justification.
May 2011: Local elections. Part 1 of the York Aviation report, commissioned by the airport, supposedly providing economic justifications for night flights is published.
Jun 2011: EasyJet snuggle up to Southend airport and launch a range of European services. Southend doesn’t have night flights.
Aug 2011: Part 2 of the York Aviation report, commissioned by the airport, supposedly providing economic justifications for night flights, is leaked to the press and (presumably) given to TDC. No sign of it in public yet. Charles Buchanan appears on TV, predicting a night flight application “next month”.
Sep 2011: It is next month. There is no application, yet. There is a meeting of the Airport Working Party on Wed 28th Sept. Surely, Manston isn’t planning to release its next night flight application after the AWP meets? That could easily be seen as a crass attempt to exploit the Council’s timetable.