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The last ditch bid to save Manston airport

TALKS are taking place this week with a possible buyer for Manston airport. Owner Ann Gloag, who bought the site in October, announced last week that staff are in consultation over the predicted closure by April 9. North Thanet and Herne Bay MP Sir Roger Gale has since revealed he is in discussions with an interested party – if Ann Gloag agrees a sale. Sir Roger, who with MP Laura Sandys will meet business minister Michael Fallon today said:

“I am in contact with a willing buyer who has, I believe, a consortium with the resources necessary to acquire the airport as a going concern and with a view to operating it as such. There are others who have also expressed interest in contributing financially on a realistic basis, to an acquisition. It now remains to be seen whether the present owner is willing to sell and, if so, upon what terms.”

Sir Roger added:

“I remain of the view that Manston is a national as well as a local asset and that it should, if at all possible, remain open for aviation and as a major diversion field and Search-and-Rescue base. There will clearly be considerable opposition to alternative uses to Manston airport and there are very many obstacles that lie in the way of development for, for example, housing or industrial use.”

Ownership

“It must therefore be in the interest of all parties to seek to reach an agreement that enables the swift and efficient transfer of ownership, on acceptable terms, to a new operational owner.”

Herne Bay’s Phil Rose, from the No Night Flights campaign, says claims the airport troubles are due to night flight restrictions are not true. He said Manston’s location was the biggest factor leading to the proposed closure. Mr Rose said:

“I don’t think the lack of night flights made a lot of difference to the downfall at the airport. If you want to run a successful airport you need passengers and freight, you don’t need night flights. Look at London City Airport, it’s a thriving airport that doesn’t need night flights to survive. Manston’s problem is as estate agents say ‘location, location, location’. There just aren’t enough people to sustain a passenger service and you wouldn’t use it for freight, unless that freight is being delivered to Kent. You have to wonder what Ann Gloag is going to be doing with the airport, for the time being, she is not selling up. Most people think she will be going for a housing development — that would be the quickest and easiest way to make money.”

A public meeting is being held by Sir Roger and MP Laura Sandys on Saturday at Acol Village Hall at 11.30am to discuss what happens next.

Herne Bay Times, March 27th 2014

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One comment

  1. Kent Resident

    The legal owners plans are much better than Roger Gales consortium from the USA. Many more jobs and training opportunities are to be created for locals which is what Thanet needs and wants. The airfield is finished and unwanted anymore except by a bunch of crackpots that like to keep Thanet in the dark past with unemployment for our young and unskilled.