Thursday 22 December 2011

Day off ramble.

Before the flack starts flying and as Don has broken the news I should point out that the decision by Flybe to pull out of Manston in March was made before the change in administration and I am told has nothing to do with night flights.

It’s nearly Christmas and I have primary school children who are on holiday, their excitement is fairly extreme so please excuse more than the usual level of errors.  

Lunch at the café on the promenade in Westgate today, I tried a watercolour of the sea while the children were eating up, consuming the enviable ice cream etc and although the watercolour didn’t turn out any good, I think I am finally getting used to painting and drawing in public.

With the night flights issue, I suppose one answer would be to allow Manston the proportion of night flights to day flights as that enjoyed by Gatwick and Heathrow.    
The pictures in this post were taken in Birchington and Westgate today.

More thoughts about Manston, I think the hope was that the better road network would make it work a regional airport, evidently this has failed. I don’t think any better rail network would help that much as if you are going by train and then plane from the southeast then it’s going to be one of the main London airports.

I think that KIA are hoping that freight will pull them through somehow, but as most of the freight will be heading for the M25 it seems unlikely that this will work.

What I don’t think Infratil have thought through here is that they only have three options, sell the airport, close it to save money or continue to subsidise it to the tune of around £1m per year. Well I guess there are no takers for buying it and they have gone down the subsidise it route, so far so good and then they seem to have thrown common sense out of the window.

Once they had made the decision that they were going to run it at a considerable loss, they then went down the road of engaging in activities that generated bad publicity.

I would say the way off the ground for Manston would be to exploit the historic aviation and to make it a tourist attraction. I doubt that the recent sanctions business which highlighted that people would still prefer to fly from Heathrow or Gatwick even when the plane was going to land and takeoff from Manston, exactly enhanced the airlines view of it as a viable destination.      

The decision has been on the cards for some time and I heard it had been confirmed over weekend and mentioned this to Simon who said he had already heard about it. But then it isn’t the place local bloggers to jump the gun on this sort of information, however is does show readers the position that bloggers are often in, sitting on information that for one reason or another it is better not to publish, and I suppose one would have looked a bit of a clot if they had changed their minds. 

I will ramble on. 


  1. Don't believe it The fault lies with a certain 'Councillor' Worrow... He alone is responsible for the local job losses!!! Still not to Worrow... the newly unemployed can park for 30 minutes in Birchington whilst they pick up their job seakers allowance!!! Well Done John!!

  2. Comment from Flybe spokesman Niall Duffy;

    "It is fair to say that Manston is one of the airports with the smaller catchment areas in the United Kingdom, and you have Gatwick not too far away."

    "We tried different routes and the numbers simply weren't there. It's impossible to sustain routes without the passengers."

    Manston is in the wrong place for a sustainable airport. All the airlines know it, hence none of them are there. Bugger all to do with TDC.

  3. Oops saw a pig flying past the window!!!

  4. posters at 1750 and 1800 are obviously deranged. What will the headlines be on Thanet Life? "Airline quits airport because of hung council leadership changes, but tells everyone its to do with the fact its in the wrong place and cannot attract custom?"


  5. Manston has been promissing jobs for years but the modern day low costs self check-in airlines employ very little staff the staf they do often dont live local to an airport. (150 new staff at Southend to service 90 new flights a week)
    There are other uses of the land that could produce jobs but apart from the small Sandwich area, East Kent and the South east in general are not seen nationally as areas that need any support for regeneration.

  6. Strangely enough, the airport security people were interviewing two weeks ago for job vacancies. Obviously nobody told them about this impending sudden decision, which makes one wonder just how impending it was before the job spoilers seized control.

    Is Manston really any more remote from civilisation than Lydd, currently expanding, or Southend, also on the end of a road to nowhere.

    Well, one wondered how much worse it could get in Thanet and we are starting to find out. Please don't all try to sell up at once for I thought of it first!

  7. Worrows legacy to thanet... Costa del Dole

  8. Concerned said: you may be interested to know that the owners of Southend airport have paid for a new railway station to be built at their own cost and Southend is not on the end of a road to nowhere.
    The station is open with connection to HS at Stratford.

    Its no wonder that no airlines are willing to commit to Manston when the owners expect us the tax payer to build a railway station.

  9. Where was the photo of the ram taken Michael? I don't recognise this spot.

  10. 1750 and 1800, add 1911 to your brotherhood of stupidity

  11. Peter this is the view from the restaurant at Quex Barn, the mural went up about a year ago when they boarded across the front of the old barn.

  12. Manston - its biggest potential customer base are fish

  13. Meant to say Peter the strange octagonal hazy lines are the effect of the wire fence.

  14. Thanks Michael. Must confess I've never been in there though I've cycled & walked past it dozens of times.

  15. Peter, apart from a restaurant, and a separate café there is also an extensive farm shop in the barn selling quality produce from the Quex estate, so you probably ought to get off your bike

  16. Boris wants a new airport in the Thames, someone else wants one on the Isle of Grain ... hello? Is anyone listening! There's a superb airport in the SE already and its name is Manston.
    There's another north of the Thames called Duxford which has done very well as an historic aircraft and flying display centre. There are soo many options but then, if we can't even get a funfair up and running at Dreamland after 20 years of dereliction and fires ... or build a state of the art supermarket on a slum site near a badly designed block of flats ... or wonder why a High Street dies when a few acres at Westwood turns from farm to shops ...'Nightmare Before Xmas'!

  17. Manston: It is no use scratching around looking for someone to blame. No passengers means no airport. I would love to fly from Manston but none of the flights go to where I want to go. It's a shame.

  18. There will always be those that plug away at the same thing that has failed previously either for them or others.
    They may feel that they can do it better or that they'll just give it one more try.
    They are unable or unwilling to step back and see if there is a better alternative.
    The idea of Manston as a profitable passenger airport could only succeed with customers. It hasn't got enough. It will never be Gatwick which is really not that far away.
    Flybe have taken the kind of step that will hopefully see them continue trading and providing jobs elsewhere. They refused to keep tapping away at an airport that couldn't provide them with enough customers to make it profitable.
    Those who continue the fact-less blame game and post comments that they hope will make people's blood boil should be smiled at gently and the words 'there, there' offered in a conciliatory tone.
    No amount of night flight bleating would have made Flybe change their mind.
    I am interested to know how many actual local people will be signing on as a result of Flybe's decision?

  19. I worked at Manston in the late 80s dealing with inward freight processing. Even then we said that as a passenger airport it was in the wrong place. Great for freight though it is cheaper to send freight by container. Thanet deserves better from central Government who see us as a dumping ground for social problems in the city. If we devolved from London and acquired the tax status of the Channel Islands or Isle of Man imagine the flood of investment along with our own airport orientated to something akin to City Airport and our own sea port. Devolution or full independence for Thanet? Its time to discuss.

  20. As long as Sheppey gets the same.

  21. Thanet as a Freeport is an enticing thought. We could dig out the Wantsum to make it more like the island it once was.

  22. As Thanet has always been an island, surely there must be some way of looking at whether we could form a Bailywick and devolve, setting our own taxes and attracting international businesses :)


Comments, since I started writing this blog in 2007 the way the internet works has changed a lot, comments and dialogue here were once viable in an open and anonymous sense. Now if you comment here I will only allow the comment if it seems to make sense and be related to what the post is about. I link the majority of my posts to the main local Facebook groups and to my Facebook account, “Michael Child” I guess the main Ramsgate Facebook group is We Love Ramsgate. For the most part the comments and dialogue related to the posts here goes on there. As for the rest of it, well this blog handles images better than Facebook, which is why I don’t post directly to my Facebook account, although if I take a lot of photos I am so lazy that I paste them directly from my camera card to my bookshop website and put a link on this blog.