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

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