Potential new indemnity partners to reopen Manston Airport

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Manston Airport before it was closed in 2014

The compulsory purchase of Manston Airport could be back on after Thanet District Council received three valid submissions for indemnity partners following a soft market testing exercise.

A Prior Information Notice calling for expressions of interest were published in the Office Journal of the European Union on 15 January. Thanet says it received five expressions of interest and after a questionnaire, three were considered valid. The findings will be presented to Thanet District Council’s cabinet.

The council says: “These questions were posed to operators in the market to establish the extent of their interest, capacity and capability. A total of three valid submissions were received.”

Campaign group, Supporters of Manston Airport, which wants to reopen the airport, says: “We are delighted to announce that initially five potential CPO [compulsory purchase order] partners responded in the recent soft marketing testing exercise. As expected, this shows a significant level of interest in the future [of] Manston Airport.”

Manston Airport closed in May 2014 and since then there has been a strong local campaign to reopen it. The council had been looking at US firm, RiverOak Investments, as an indemnity partner, but after a number of disagreements, Thanet did not go ahead with RiverOak. RiverOak responded by applying for a development consent order to secure the site, with the intention, among other things, to turn it into a major international freight hub.