In the interests of even-handedness and fair play, I thought I would publish Manston's statement on the importance of night flights, despite it being crap. Large chunks of this have been regurgitated by the local press.
If you can bring yourself to plough through this litany of self-serving distortions and special pleadings, do please bear a few things in mind:
- The "independent" report was produced by York Aviation, who describe themselves thus: "A specialist firm of air transport consultants providing a complete consultancy service for the airports business, including aviation policy advice, economic impact assessment, air traffic forecasting, and specialist advice on airport capacity assessment and planning."
- The airport already had a ban on regular (i.e. scheduled) night flights when Infratil bought it. The long-standing S106 agreement with Thanet District Council allows for unavoidable and unscheduled late arrivals.
- I repeat: this is what they bought. It said "No Night Flights" on the tin when they picked it off the shelf.
- The thousands of jobs referred to throughout this blurb only exist in the forecasts made in Manston's Master Plan.
- Passenger airlines don't decide which airports to use on the basis of what times of day they can fly. They decide on the basis of whether their planes will be full or not.
- Infratil want to make Manston a 24-hour freight hub, and then sell it.