Manston supporters give UK prime minister reliever airport proposal

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The UK prime minister, David Cameron, has received a letter from RiverOak Investment, and the Save Manston Airport and Why Not Manston? campaigns setting out the case for Manston Airport to be reopened as a reliever airport.

Save Manston Airport and Why Not Manston? and investment firm RiverOak were joined by UK members of parliament, Sir Roger Gale and Laura Sandys, who represent the constituencies of North Thanet and South Thanet, respectively. The letter says Manston Airport should be used as a reliever airport for the London airport system for emergencies, such as emergency landings and airspace closures.

Save Manston Airport chairman, Beau Webber, says: “It has the capacity to accept any aircraft flying today and that, combined with clear airspace, purpose-built passenger and cargo handling facilities and excellent transport links, means it should be viewed as a national asset to assist with national airport contingency planning.”

The airport ceased operations on 15 May 2014. It had been bought for £1 ($1.53) in November 2013 by Ann Gloag, who set up a company, Manston Skyport, to operate the airport. Manston Airport was losing £10,000 a day when it shut. The airport was sold to individuals, Chris Musgrave and Trevor Cartner in September 2014, who outlined plans to redevelop the site over 20 years to include homes, offices and light industry.

RiverOak has been in talks with Thanet District Council, the local authority where Manston is situated, about funding a compulsory purchase order, to reopen the airport. RiverOak had offered to buy the airport for £7 million in April 2014, but the offer was rejected.

RiverOak chief investment officer, George Yerrall, says: “The government has said that it will ‘leave no stone unturned’ to help ensure that Manston Airport becomes operational again, with both the prime minister and transport minister taking a keen personal interest in the airport’s future.”

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