A proposed Thanet Parkway station would give a fantastic boost to Manston airport but the terminal would still grow without it, its boss has said. Charles Buchanan, chief executive of Kent International Airport, said rail links between Ramsgate and London were already much better, with high-speed journey times down to 75 minutes.
A Parkway station close to the airport would cut this to around 64 minutes, although he would like to see it fall tobelow 60 minutes. But he insisted that the terminal would grow with or without the station.
“Manston Parkway would be fantastic but we can do it [attract more passengers] without it,” he said
KIA owner Infratil has teamed up with Kent County Council, Thanet council, Network Rail and Southeastern to launch a £10 million bid to the Regional Growth Fund for better transport links in East Kent. A key element is a Parkway station that would improve access to and from the airport, signalling a potentially steep rise in passenger numbers. The station would be built south of the airport and west of Cliffsend village, with a fast shuttle bus link to the airport.
KCC Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Waste Nick Chard said:
“The Parkway Station would have an enormous, positive impact on Thanet and the surrounding area by creating new jobs and regenerating the area. For me, it’s a question of when we do this, not if.”
KCC leader Paul Carter made a Manston Parkway a key part of his “Growth without Gridlock” strategy unveiled last month. He said:
“A Thanet Parkway station would support economic growth in Thanet and accelerate development of Kent International Airport at Manston, while improved line speeds between Ashford and Ramsgate would benefit all local rail users. With an estimated 1,000 new jobs generated per million new air passengers, these improvements would help create 6,000 jobs by 2033.”
kentonline 21st Jan 2011