Controversial plans for more night time flights Kent International Airport at Manston are being considered by the local council. The proposals, which could become a reality as early as this May, would see dozens more flights into Kent International Airport every month. The first planes would take off or land at Manston from 6am and would operate until 11.30pm.
Airport owner Infratril is currently in talks with a major European airline that wants to use the site for long haul international cargo movements. The unnamed company hopes to fly 747 aircraft into airport up to 11 times a week. The plan would require a step change to the section 106 environmental agreement that restricts the airport’s operations and is likely to be met with opposition.
Cllr Richard Nicholson, leader of Thanet Labour group, said he was appalled, angry and surprised at the detail of the announcement, which was made unexpectedly at a hastily-called press conference this morning. He said:
“It’s wrong that information should be released to the media and therefore the public at a conference arranged by the council when many of its own members had no idea of the conference or of its content. Infratil has indicated it wants alterations to the night flying policy, which is the right and proper way to proceed. But the Section 106 agreement advises that there should be a substantial consultation period before any alterations are made to agreed flying times.”
Councillors will debate the issue at an extraordinary meeting next Thursday and, if approved, a revised Section 106 agreement would be in place for the next 18 months. Thanet council says the document would then be reviewed every six months until a comprehensive night time flying policy covering the period from 2010 and 2018 is drawn up. Cllr Roger Latchford, deputy leader of Thanet council, said:
“The application has only just come in and the council is moving quickly to ensure that everyone is able to have their say on it.”
kentonline 4th Feb 2009