Mission Aviation Fellowship

Government throws lifeline to Manston

According to RiverOak Investments, bidders for the currently closed Manston Airport in Kent, the Secretary of State for Transport – Chris Grayling – has confirmed ongoing support for re-opening Manston Airport.

Speaking in the House of Commons the Secretary of State said that while he recognised that there were differences of local opinion about the future of the airport in East Kent, the Government “would be perfectly supportive of proposals to develop a freight hub at Manston,” and hoped the right decision would be reached ‘in the interest of the nation’.”

The local MP, Sir Roger Gale, said, “Whatever decision is taken about an additional runway at Gatwick or Heathrow we need capacity now if we are not to lose more business to mainland Europe. Manston Airport is available immediately and we must see this project through as soon as possible. I am pleased, therefore, that the Secretary of State did not hesitate to reinforce the Government`s ongoing support for Manston as an airport”.


Riveroak have announced plans to turn Manston into an airfreight hub, with complementary passenger, engineering and aviation services. Riveroaks have recently undertaken a consultation exercise with local residents and say 90% of responses were in favour of their responses, with only 8% opposed. Other results from the consultation responses were that popular ‘wish list’ items for Manston included passenger services, a flying school, viewing area and a requirement for employment at the airport to be drawn from the local community. Concerns raised included environmental issues such as night flights (9% of respondents), noise (8%) and air pollution and the flight path, both raised by 2% of respondents.

George Yerrall of RiverOak Investments said: “We are really encouraged to see so much support for the airport and to get a sense of the issues of most importance to local people. Before the statutory consultation exercise starts, we will respond directly to everyone who has taken the time to submit a response and has provided contact details, although all responses will be taken into account. We will also publish the information we provide to respondents on our website.”

The current owners of the airfield, Stonehill Park, have announced plans to build around 2,500 houses on the site. The war of words between Riveroak and Stonehill is becoming increasingly bitter, with accusations and counter-accusations trading across the opposing company’s websites. Riveroaks say that they have been denied access to the site for testing and data-gathering purposes, and so have applied for compulsory access powers.

Author: Adrian Mahovics

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