Monday, 15 June 2009

Airports and hoverports

One way or another flights from Thanet have been a bit of a bumpy ride for operators, Ramsgate airport that operated from 1934 until 1968 was fairly successful.

Manston has been one long bumpy ride from when it started commercial flights back in 1959 to date.

Video of Matt Clarke on the 25 year masterplan for the airport

At the moment it is operating outside the environmental rules with the necessary work needed to make it compliant looking to be prohibitively expensive, particularly in view of the losses it’s incurring.

It seems strange to me that after 50 years of pollution ending in bankruptcy the lessons haven’t been learnt, the main one being that it’s geographically disadvantaged.

Video cold war Manston

Thanet’s first hoverport opened in 1966 was in Ramsgate harbour using the small SR.N6 passenger only machines this was a successful service providing cheap fast flights to France.

Videos hovercraft at Pegwell Bay

In 1969 Hoverlloyd relocated to a purpose built hoverport at Pegwell Bay where they operated the much larger SR-N4 craft, capable of carrying 30 vehicles and 254 passengers this ran until 1982 when the operation moved to Dover.

Even back in 1969 there were considerable objections to using Pegwell Bay on environmental grounds the damage done was considerable.

What really put pay to these big hovercraft was that they weren’t fuel efficient enough to compete with the ferries, the rise in the price of aviation kerosene finished them off even the short journey from Dover to Calais proved uneconomic.

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