Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Deserted UK airport to relaunch flights in 2028 but holidaymakers have to wait

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AN abandoned airport that was forced to close more than a decade ago has revealed plans to restart flights in the next four years.

Manston Airport in Kent has faced a number of protests from locals in recent years after announcing plans to reopen.

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A UK airport is set to relaunch flights in just four yearsCredit: Times Media Ltd
Manston Airport was forced to close back in 2014 after making losses of £10k a day

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Manston Airport was forced to close back in 2014 after making losses of £10k a dayCredit: Alamy
A model image has shown what the airport could look like when it reopens

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A model image has shown what the airport could look like when it reopensCredit: Times Media Ltd

However, Tony Freudmann, main board director at RiverOak who owns the airport has said that they could soon relaunch flights.

This was after a judicial review into plans was not upheld.

The only downside is that the flights would initially be just cargo and freight flights first – so Brit holidaymakers may have to wait longer.

Mr Freudmann said: “If you a freighter operator wanting to export goods to a city in India or Indonesia, you can not get it out of the UK.

“You have got to go to Charles de Gaul or Frankfurt. It’s ridiculous.”

He also hit back at claims that it would be a “highly-polluting cargo hub” saying new technology would let it be the “greenest airport in the country”.

Another complaint was late night flights – something Mr Freudman said also wouldn’t be allowed under the planning development order.

He added that the only exception would be for delayed flights due to weather or other conditions”.

The redevelopment will take around 18 months and hopes to create as many as 2,500 jobs.

General Manager Gary Blake said: “There are no more legal challenges ahead so we can put the pedal to the metal and go full steam ahead.”

It is hoped that if the freight services are successful, it could lead to airlines rejoining the airport, offering cheap flights to Europe.

He also hopes passenger services will return and said they have plans to attract short haul carriers to popular destinations in Europe.

Last month. he said: “If the likes of Ryanair or EasyJet come to us and say we’d like to fly out of your airport and we’re going to base two or three aircraft there, then we can construct a passenger terminal and have them running out of there probably in less than 12 months.”

Flights would likely be early morning flights, he said, but that the lack of slots at other major nearby airports would allow more routes for airlines.

He said: “It is in their interests to base two or three aircraft at Manston. That’s the working assumption we’ve made.”

Local councilor Karen Constantine told local media that it could see up to 1.4million people travelling from the airport by “year 20 of operation”.

We can construct a passenger terminal and have [airlines] running out of there probably in less than 12 months

Tony Freudmann

The last time flights operated at Manston Airport was in 2014.

However, it first opened in 1916, and was used in both World War I and World War II.

It was forced to close in 2014 after the RAF left the airport back in 1996, leading to huge losses.

Since then, a new train station – Thanet Parkway – has opened near to the airport, which has high speed trains to and from London.

Another airport in the UK hoping to reopen in Plymouth Airport.

Forced to close 13 years ago, experts have said as many as one million passengers a year could fly from the airport if it was allowed to reopen.

The majority of flights would be across the UK, with as many as 28 feasible routes.

And Doncaster-Sheffield Airport has revealed plans to welcome TUI flights – after being forced to close back in 2022.

Why did Manston Airport close?

Manston Airport first opened in 1916.

Being used in both WWI and WWII, the RAF eventually pulled out in 1996.

Airlines such as KLM previously ran two daily flights to Amsterdam.

And UK routes included Flybe, travelling from Manston to Edinburgh and Manchester.

Seasonal flights included Air Southwest charter flights to Jersey as well as Newmarket Holidays charter flights to Verona, Naples and Porto.

However, losses reached as high as £10,000 a day, which saw the site bought for just £1 in 2013.

It then closed in 2014.

It has since been used as a lorry park for operators across the channel, and even as a filming location for James Bond and recent Sam Mendes film Empire of Light.

Since its closure, the airport has been campaigning to reopen, and was given a huge boost earlier this year when current landowners, Peel, agreed on an 125-year lease of the airport to Doncaster Council.

Doncaster Mayor Ros Jones told local media: “We have heard from TUI that they are keen to return to our airport.”

The airport has face criticism from locals, but has now been given the go-ahead for redevelopment

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The airport has face criticism from locals, but has now been given the go-ahead for redevelopmentCredit: Times Media Ltd

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