June 20 2013 Latest news:
Nick Ames, Reporter
Friday, March 9, 2012
Environmental campaigners point to flaws
News that Manston is up for sale is confirmation that the local infrastructure is not sufficient to sustain an airport, say environmental campaigners.
Its New Zealand owner, Infratil, announced it is selling off the hub because it wants to “refocus its investment profile” and concentrate on its electricity and gas supply retail and production.
The move has put around 100 jobs at risk.
Members of the Campaign to Protect Rural England say the sale is an opportunity for Thanet council to put into force planning regulation to safeguard the interests of local residents, particularly in the issue of night flights, which the airport wanted to introduce amidst local opposition.
A CPRE spokesman said: “Of course we are saddened to think that existing jobs at Manston might be out at risk, but it confirms our long-standing concerns that Manston has been unable to become a commercial success for many reasons, not least its lack of infrastructure.
“Manston airport has consistently struggled to attract passengers and airline operators to the airport despite the massive amounts of investment into it.
“If a fresh start means that new airport operators are able to breathe new life into Manston airport, we sincerely hope that Thanet District Council will take this as an opportunity to bring the whole operation under the proper control of a robust planning agreement that will protect the interests of all of Thanet’s residents.
“The prospect of intensification of night flights, while Manston airport has been unable to exploit its daytime capacity, has hung over the county for far too long.”
Malcolm Kirkaldie was a member of the former watchdog Manston Airport Group,
He said: “The former owners of the airport never addressed local complaints or issues.
“Developers who come into Thanet need to be accountable to the local community and put something back of benefit to the area – a swimming pool or ice-skating rink for instance.”
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