US logistics firm set to meet with RiverOak Strategic Partners over plans to re-open Manston airport

PUBLISHED: 08:58 10 May 2017 | UPDATED: 09:40 10 May 2017




The unnamed company announced last week it was set to invest £100m in resuming aviation on the site

An American logistics company which emerged last week as a potential investor in Manston airport says it will be meeting other parties aiming to get planes flying again on the site - and wants to secure a quick purchase of the land.

The firm, which has not yet been identified, has held talks with Thanet District Council chiefs over its proposals, and announced last Wednesday it was pursuing a compulsory purchase order (CPO) for the airport which closed in 2014, though now admits it is looking to buy the land directly.

However, the current site owners - bosses behind the Stone Hill Park project - have repeatedly insisted they have no plans to sell up and warned last week the US firm’s proposal to invest £100m in resuming aviation “will end up going nowhere”.

SHP aims to deliver 2,500 homes and leisure facilities, while insisting the area’s history and heritage will be respected and maintained.

Conservative candidate for Thanet North, Sir Roger Gale, questioned the timing of the announcement - just 24 hours before the county council elections in which TDC leader Chris Wells was standing - and insisted the company should “make common cause” with RiverOak Strategic Partners, which is also aiming to re-open the airport.

An RSP spokesperson told us last week: “We would be happy to meet with this party, as we have done with other similarly interested parties, to discuss how we might work together to maximise this additional potential opportunity.”

Now, the new investor also appears to have agreed to a meeting, as the plans begin to gather pace.

The Supporters of Manston Airport campaign group, which helped bring the investors to the table, released a statement this morning on behalf of German-based consultancy, DTD Consult, which is representing the company.

“Following our meeting with TDC yesterday, and consulting with my clients, we will be speaking to all parties who have an interest in keeping this facility available for pure aviation use,” said DTD’s Dale Crawford.

“I have also been instructed to speak to the current owners and ascertain what their expectations are, so we can make a decision on a direct purchase instead of entering into a long drawn out process of the CPO application.

“My clients see the tangible benefits of having a fully operational logistics capability combining both the air and sea port, and have no interest in just fighting legal battles.

“Developing employment opportunities and a sustainable business environment is to be kept as our main aim which should not be sidetracked with administrative processes.”

UK-based pension fund investor, Edi Truell, is also understood to be negotiating with the council over plans to re-open the airport.

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