Friday, 13 February 2009

Manston decision upside-down


Kent International Airport Consultative Committee was set up so that proper public consultation could occur locally, I can’t say that I am entirely happy that KIA appear to ignore their valid requests for proper mediation from Consultative Committee, but let that pass.

I have seen the documentation showing 10 years of 106 breaches and unpaid fines, but let that pass.

I am concerned about the health implications for the people living under the flight path, I have seen the documentation showing people living under airport approaches are less healthy and die younger, but let that pass.

Living in King Street Ramsgate it is so noisy anyway that the current level of aircraft noise and low flying doesn’t bother me, however the majority of people I talk to in the shop don’t like it, but let that pass.

I don’t have a problem with aircraft using the airport, providing they comply with the safety and environmental regulations and provided that the CAA, EA Southern Water and TDCs contaminated land officer, consider that operating with lots large planes, without an interceptor on the main runway and the contingency plans for a fuel spillage are within the parameters of reasonable risk.

The problem I do have is that expansion decisions are being made before these factors have been properly considered.

Sitting on the desk in front of me are the plans for the vital interceptor Application No: F/TH/07/1777 on the link for the Thanet planning site http://www.ukplanning.com/thanet it’s nearly a year since they were approved, but when will work start?

Picture from Twilight Of Pistons click on the link for more about this book http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/catalogue/1997_twilight_of_pistons.htm

5 comments:

  1. Do you really expect an airport operator to undertake major expenditure BEFORE securing the business that will pay for it, especially given the negative attitude of some towards expansion? How about backing the expansion whilst keeping an eye on things as and when they progress!

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  2. Manston main runway has no interceptor the thought that BA would operate under those conditions with the new polluter pays legislation is just laughable, anyway Manston has been invited to tender as have Heathrow and Gatwick, they ask for tenders every three years when the airport contract at Stansted is due for renewal but have stuck with Stansted so far.

    If you think what the relocation costs would be for BA as well Manston doesn’t stand any real chance, I am afraid BA are using TDCs desire for jobs at any cost regardless of environmental costs, as a bargaining pawn, you could say word is getting out. I see no other reason that Manston was included in the tendering for the first time this year as geography it’s in the wrong place. BA want a transport hub and unlike some others who appear to be unaware of the invention of the wheel, probably geographically know about it.

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  3. With the number of flights being talked about I doubt this application is anything to do with a transport "hub" for BA, maybe just an overspill for a short term contract or similar.

    I don't quite understand Manston being geographically in the wrong place. Aircraft use relatively very little fuel at altitude so the cost of flying an extra 70 miles from the west at 30,000 feet (about 8 minutes) could easily be offset by cheaper handling charges. Manston would be nearer if coming from the east. Also the airways and arrival/departure slots would be far less congested making an even greater saving.

    I agree that BA (if it is them) may just be inviting tenders, which is normal business practice. It may also be that BA are using Manston as a bargaining point, again normal (and some would say good) business practice, but unless Manston complies with such requests it will never "take off".

    If Manston did win the contract surely BA (or whoever it is) would force them to construct the interceptors, which would be to everyone's benefit.

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  4. "I don't quite understand Manston being geographically in the wrong place."

    If you land your freight at Manston and it's destined for the Midlands, you have to spend literally thousands of pounds transporting it by lorry to its destination. It's cheaper if you land it at Stansted.

    Manston is in the wrong place because East Kent is relatively sparsely populated. By the time you travel West to the more populated areas you are nearer to the London airports. Road transport is expensive and it's geting more expensive by the week.

    The idea that Manston can undercut the London airports on handling charges is nonsense. The London airports have economy of scale (i.e. you can make efficient use of men and machinery because there are enough flights to keep them busy all of the time.) In addition, most air-freight comes in the belly-hold of passenger flights. You can't access most air-freight unless you are running passenger flights.

    In my opinion Manston is failing badly. This latest intiative smacks of desperation. If you don't believe me take a look at the airport's business plan which was published just before Christmas (it's on their web-site). Nowhere do they mention the need to change the regulations on night-flying. So why the blind panic now, and why the ridiculously short notice? It all seems unplanned and response-driven. I can't see any stable business, such as BAWC coming to a failing airport where things are done on a whim.

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  5. Anonymous (18 February 2009 11:12) said "If you land your freight at Manston and it's destined for the Midlands, you have to spend literally thousands of pounds transporting it." What if the freight is destined for somewhere in Kent? You SAVE thousands of pounds not transporting it.

    You say "The idea that Manston can undercut the London airports on handling charges is nonsense." Do you have any idea how much it is to land, park and take off from the London airports? You also seem to forget that Manston has been handling freight for many years, and I doubt that airlines use Manston because it's the most expensive!

    You say "So why the blind panic now, and why the ridiculously short notice?" Like it or not, we exist in the 21st Century which is fast moving and dynamic. Those that succeed are those that can meet these fast moving dynamic challenges.

    You say "In addition, most air-freight comes in the belly-hold of passenger flights. You can't access most air-freight unless you are running passenger flights." So I guess from this comment that we are to assume Infratil, owners of several airports worldwide, don't know what they are doing. And we are to believe that airlines (including those already using Manston) don't operate freight only aircraft.

    For what it's worth, in my opinion Manston is undergoing a planned steady and professional expansion. Only time will tell.

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