Yesterday Infratil sold Manston – Kent International Airport to Ann Gloag and intial indicators are that she is going down the road of trying to make the airport viable as an airport.
As far as I can see from the various news articles Ann Gloag has added Alastair Welch to the board on Manston Airport, I am fairly certain that it was Alastair Welch who ran Southend airport.
Here is the KM article http://www.kentonline.co.uk/thanet_extra/news/shake-up-at-airport-9614
And here is the BBC one http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-kent-25154220
And the KOS one http://www.kentnews.co.uk/news/manston_airport_1_sale_confirmed_as_alastair_welch_appointed_to_turn_its_fortunes_around_1_3058114
And hear the IOTG report http://www.thanetgazette.co.uk/Ann-Gloag-completes-deal-new-Manston-Airport/story-20241365-detail/story.html
I guess for me the key issue with Manston Airport is their ongoing failures to become environmentally compliant, the main issue being the failure to the work necessary to obtain an environmental permit (EP) from the environment agency. I have posted about this one in the past and here is the link to one of my previous posts about it http://thanetonline.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/kent-international-airport-at-manston_10.html
The history of Manston Airport as a commercial airport goes back to the 1960s and frankly it hasn’t been a good history from a commercial point of view, the first commercial operator there Air Ferries floundered in 1968, the picture above is of a DC 4 loading at Manston, Air Ferries operated several out of Manston and most of them left Manston and arrived on runways at other airports, apart from Oscar Golf that flew into some trees on the approach at Frankfurt killing everyone onboard, and Kilo Yankee that flew into a mountain killing everyone onboard.
One of the main snags with Manston is that most air accidents take place near the runway and with Manston the town of Ramsgate sits at the end of the main runway.
The other large snag with Manston in terms safety is that it sits on to of the underground drinking water reservoir.
Obviously no one would build a commercial airport with the disadvantages that Manston has and I think in the past there have been cases where airport operators have bought Manston Airport without understanding these problems.
I am inclined to look at this sort of deal along the lines of – if I wasn’t a shop assistant – whether I would consider doing the deal myself.
And in the second instance if she can’t make it succeed, either selling it on or splitting the assets and selling must result in a profit.
More to come on this one, basically dependent on how busy my bookshop is today.
Certainly one of the most difficult problems economically is having a large business in the area with one key aspect being total uncertainty about the direction it is going in.
I guess the underlying question for us locals is would having a successful airport be beneficial to the area?
Obviously as the airport has never been a successful commercial airport, there is a sense that we don’t really know the answer.