Head of Thanet District Council says Manston Airport development plans are doomed to fail

A candid interview with TDC leader Rick Everitt has revealed that the Labour councillor believes that plans to re-open Manston airport will never get off the ground. Said Everitt: “Whatever you think about Manston, the question is: is it viable? “

Commercially Manston Airport has never succeeded. It failed three times and closed in 2014, handling just 3,000 tonnes of freight a year. It lost investors £100million and cost locals their jobs and, in some cases, personal investments. Experts say Manston Airport is unviable and not needed.

Thanet Cllr Rick Everitt” “I don’t think Manston will re-open as an airport”

Everitt was quizzed last week about TDC’s role in the future of Manston Airport on a podcast called Kent Politics (Episode 5). “It’s really up to the legal process to sort itself out,” he said referring to the ongoing legal challenge to the Manston development, which is due to be heard at the Court of Appeal next month.

Thirty eight minutes into the podcast the councillor confirmed that the fate of the airport was out of TDC’s hands.  Said Everitt: “The reality is – despite what people say every time there’s an election – Thanet District Council has no say, at this point, over whether the airport opens or not. The big question for the owners is whether or not they’ve got a viable business plan.”

When pushed about the chances of the airport development being a success, Everitt responded. “I don’t think it will re-open as an airport, if I’m honest, because I don’t think the plan is likely to be viable. All the studies that have been carried out on this – that have challenged the need [for the airport] – have said that there isn’t actually the demand for it. My view is that, whatever you think about it, the question is: is it viable? And my personal opinion is that is it unlikely.”

A Kent County Council report on the airport noted: “Manston has failed over a prolonged period of time to run as a commercially successful airport. Kent County Council gave strong support to various investors but the reality of commercial aviation at Manston Airport led to very significant losses.”

In 2019 the Govt’s Planning Inspectorate examined proposals for re-opening Manston and recommended it should not go ahead, stating: ”Manston appears to offer no obvious advantages to outweigh the strong competition that [other] such airports offer.”
Aviation experts – including Ove Arup, Avia Solutions and York Aviation – predict the airport will continue to struggle because of its remote location, lack of local demand and strong competition at existing airports.

Listen to Rick Everitt talk about Manston here:

You can hear the full interview on the Kent Politics podcast here:


A Judicial Review to challenge the Govt decision to grant planning permission for Manston Airport has been launched. You can contribute here: https://tinyurl.com/26mwy5xz


“It’s time to pull the plug on Manston Airport”

Campaigner Jenny Dawes, who is taking the UK Govt to court over the re-opening of Manston Airport, says it’s time for local MPs to stop misleading the public.

Ramsgate resident Jenny Dawes has been spearheading a Judicial Review against planning permission to re-open Manston Airport since 2020. She says its time for local MP’s to be honest about the project which many predict will fail.

Last month Dawes was granted permission to make further arguments against the development in the Court of Appeal. Says Dawes: “There are very valid questions to answer. The appeal has been granted on the grounds of Need for the airport. Reports by aviation experts – and the Govt’s own Planning Inspectors – already concluded that there is no need for the development. The 2019 Govt Examining Authority report concluded that RSP had failed to demonstrate sufficient need for the airport. If the airport is not needed, then the jobs, the economic benefits and the profits will never happen.”

Thanet MPs Roger Gale & Craig Mackinlay: “misleading the electorate”

Dawes, who has crowdfunded her legal challenge in the High Court, continues: “The political promise of prosperity can’t be delivered. Our local MPs are unfairly filling the people of Thanet with false hope. If global aviation experts like Ove Arup – commissioned by the Dept for Transport – agree the airport is not needed, then why are they being ignored?”

“Airport owners Riveroak Strategic Partners (RSP) are not aviation experts. The airport has never worked commercially. It has failed three times and was more profitable as a lorry park than it was in 15 years as an airport. Throwing money at something doesn’t make it more viable. The investment figures being quoted to develop Manston are absurd. No serious investor would touch this.”

Adds Dawes: “Manston Airport closed 10 years ago. Too much time and public money has been wasted on this. RSP had an £8.5 million handout from the Dept for Transport for delays that didn’t materialise to a development that is not needed. It’s time for the Govt to pull the plug. It’s time for MPs Roger Gale and Craig Mackinlay to stop misleading the electorate and start encouraging more realistic and sustainable investment in the area.”

“We’ve already missed a great opportunity for developing the 800 acre Manston site as a garden city with businesses, light industry, schools, doctors and leisure facilities, but that was blocked by our local MPs. As was a proposal to develop the site as an international film studio. Meanwhile, our local green fields, farmland and villages are now being lost to Govt house building quotas.”

For more on Jenny’s campaign against re-opening of Manston Airport visit:




East Kent campaigner launches follow-up Judicial Review against “unintelligible” airport development decision.

Ramsgate resident Jenny Dawes has launched a second Judicial Review (JR) against the development of a cargo hub at Manston airport. The 1200-page document was filed by her legal team, Harrison Grant Ring.

Manston airport has already seen one Development Consent Order (DCO) quashed, following a legal challenge by Dawes who filed the first JR to the High Court in 2020.

The Secretary Of State for Transport had over-ridden his own Planning Inspectorate who advised the airport should not be granted planning permission. The court described the SOS’s explanation behind the granting of the DCO as “unintelligible”.  

The SOS then ordered three follow-up consultations and commissioned a £150,000 report from aviation experts Ove Arup who agreed with the Planning Inspectorate decision that the airport development should not go ahead. The SOS ignored this too, and issued a second DCO on 18 August 2022.

Campaigners against the development have long argued about the negative effects on health, the local economy and the environment.  The Transport Secretary admitted airport disruption would have a detrimental effect on Dawes’ home town of Ramsgate.

A 747 flies directly over Ramsgate to reach Manston

Dawes says: “Developing Manston Airport will cause irreparable harm to the people, environment and the economy of East Kent.” She says she is launching this latest legal challenge because: “the second DCO decision is also flawed.” 

Dawes crowdfunded £119,000 to pay for the legal costs arising from the first Judicial Review (JR) in 2020. “The money we raised last time was used to pay solicitors, barristers, consultants and court costs in what turned out to be a long and complicated case.”

Jenny is calling for donations to help fund the second JR on her new crowd fund page.  You can donate, and read more about the case, here: https://tinyurl.com/26mwy5xz



Councillor backs CARMA campaign calling for more openness on proposed new Manston Airport flight paths.

Ramsgate councillor David Green is backing CARMA’s campaign petition asking the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for more transparency on new flight paths plans for Manston Airport. The site was granted Govt planning permission in 2020 to operate as a cargo hub.

Cllr Green has raised concerns over the transparency of consultations, which so far have taken place on an invite-only basis and are already at an advanced stage.

Maps of the proposed flight paths from the airport developers show cargo planes flying over many towns and villages in East Kent. 

Secret flightpaths on CARMA’s CAA petition : see https://tinyurl.com/3rn5mr4w

The developers claim these new routes have been shared with key stakeholders who can “offer early views on behalf of their local communities, including elected community representatives”. But Cllr Green is not convinced. “The consultations I have been to have been sparsely attended by councillors and local representatives from East Kent. You have to ask if the relevant community representatives are being properly informed.”

Flightpath maps from the CAA consultation show up to 30 towns and villages could be at risk from cargo plane noise and pollution under the proposed new flightpaths.

Towns and villages at risk include: Ramsgate, Margate, Broadstairs, Sandwich, Deal, St Nicholas at Wade, Sturry, Ash, Wingham, Herne Bay, Beltinge, Swalecliff, Cliffsend, Eastry, Betteshanger, Sarre, Preston, Shottendon, Challock, Kingsdown, Folkestone, Birchington, St Peters, North Foreland, Cliftonville, Westgate, St Margaret’s at Cliffe, Fordwich, Wickhambreaux, South Foreland, Monkton, Chillenden, Folkestone and Canterbury.

Cllr Green has written to all parish councils asking if they have been contacted regarding the new flightpaths which will affect the towns and villages they represent. He says: “I will pass any information I receive on to the relevant bodies.”

Cllr Green: ” Are East Kent residents properly informed about airports flightpaths?”

Support the Judicial Review challenging the Govt decision to grant planning permission for Manston Airport. Donate to the JR crowdfund here: https://tinyurl.com/26mwy5x



CARMA has uncovered evidence that flightpath consultations with East Kent residents affected by the cargo hub at Manston Airport are not being conducted openly, contrary to CAA rules.

CAA map of East Kent potentially affected by Manston’s flightpaths.

This map on the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) website shows the area across East Kent potentially impacted by Manston Airport’s proposed new flight paths.  Under CAA rules airports have to liaise with all parties (known as stakeholders) affected, or potentially affected, by environmental and noise issues.

CARMA has uncovered a video of Manston Airport director Tony Freudmann which shows he is restricting consultations to a select group of people.

Up to 30 East Kent towns and villages could be affected. Yet Mr Freudmann says that he will be holding public consultations in just two of those locations.

Filmed at an invite-only meeting with Thanet MPs Craig Mackinlay and Sir Roger Gale, Mr Freudmann says he intends to consult with “fans” of the airport and adds he will only enter into dialogue  with people “who are genuinely interested in the impact of the airport as opposed to it not happening at all.” 

This is contrary to CAA rules known as The Gunning Principles which state: “The airspace change sponsor [Manston] must enter the consultation with an open mind and take all views into consideration.”

CAA rules add: “Failure to deliver an open, fair, transparent and effective consultation will result in the sponsor [Manston] having to re-consult.” This would mean having to scrap the entire process.

Manston director Tony Freudmann at a Save Manston Airport Association meeting . Watch from 12m 30s to 13m 40s and hear Mr Freudmann say he will be restricting flightpath consultations.

Manston Airport was granted planning permission by the Govt against advice from aviation experts and its own Planning Inspectorate which investigated the site and concluded that the airport was not needed and would “have a material impact on the ability of Government to meet its carbon reduction targets”.

As well as this video, CARMA has also obtained evidence from key stakeholders – including two East Kent councillors and several community organisations – who say they have either been ignored or actively rebuffed by airport developers RSP on the CAA flightpath process. One of them, The Ramsgate Society, has now filed a complaint directly with the CAA.

Chairman John Walker says: “The Ramsgate Society is a member of the long standing and distinguished civic society movement with 700 members.  RSP held two meetings in Ramsgate on 5th November under the banner “Design Principles Focus Group”. The Ramsgate Society was not invited to be represented at either session.”

CARMA has also been made aware of a press ban on flight path reporting, after a journalist was ejected from one of the focus groups by Mr Freudmann who threatened to halt the consultation unless the reporter was thrown out.

If you have evidence of Manston Airport not being transparent, contact us at [email protected]

The CARMA online petition, asking for more transparency on Manston’s proposed flightpaths, is now past 1,000 signatures, double its original target.  If you haven’t signed please go to:


Some of the proposed flightpaths out of Manston cargo hub development which could affect up to 30 towns across East Kent



Manston airport in East Kent is to be developed into a major international cargo hub with all-new flight paths. These maps show some of the proposed flight paths developers are requesting which will affect many populated areas of East Kent 

These proposals have been discussed and developed behind closed doors. CARMA (Campaign Against The Reopening of Manston Airport) is asking for transparency on consultations so that all those potentially affected can understand the environmental impact of the airport development. 

Current proposals reveal over 30 East Kent locations which are at risk of being impacted by Manston’s proposed flightpaths. The routes shown here are taken from the most recent consultation documents.

Areas at risk include: Ramsgate, Margate, Broadstairs, Sandwich, Deal, St Nicholas at Wade, Sturry, Ash, Wingham, Herne Bay, Beltinge, Swalecliff, Cliffsend, Eastry, Betteshanger, Sarre, Preston, Shottendon, Challock, Kingsdown, Folkestone, Birchington, St Peters, North Foreland, Cliftonville, Westgate, St Margaret At Cliffe, Fordwich, Wickhambreaux, South Foreland, Monkton, Chillenden and Canterbury.

The next stage of consultations will get under way in September.

If you, or your council representative, weren’t consulted and feel that you should be, please sign our petition – click here – to ask the Civil Aviation Authority for more transparency over the consultations for the development of the new Manston flight paths. Alternatively ask your local councillor to contact [email protected] with any concerns.

To download the latest flightpath proposal document from the airport developers click the red button below.


Flight frequency

Manston has permission to develop 64,000 air traffic movements a year, which is 176 flights a day or around 10 flights an hour. There is currently no limit on the number late arrivals at night. 

Flight paths

A normal flight path corridor can be up to 14km wide. The flight path corridors (red lines) on these maps demonstrate a width of approx 1km. Manston developers admit they have no control over the exact path each aircraft eventually chooses


Cargo planes are the noisiest and most polluting types of aircraft. As a dedicated cargo hub Manston will primarily be flying planes converted to freight-only use from older passenger planes – such as the recently- retired 747s. 

Climate Change

The Manston Airport would use up 1.9% of the UK’s target CO2 emissions for 2050. Planning experts say this will seriously affect the ability of the UK Govt to meet its carbon reduction targets, and Planning Inspectors have already concluded that there is no national need for an airport development at Manston.


Experts say that anything above 85 decibels can damage your hearing.  Noise levels under previous flight Manston paths have been measured as loud as 100 db.

Please sign our online petition – click here – if you want more transparency on consultations about the new Manston flight paths so that those affected can understand the real environmental impact of the new airport proposals and development.