Reopening Manston “very unlikely to be financially viable”

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Manston Airport before it was closed in 2014

Manston Airport is “very unlikely to be financially viable in the longer term and almost certainly not possible in the period to 2031” according to a report by aviation industry experts, AviaSolutions.

The airport, which closed in May 2014 has been subject to a long running campaign to reopen it, with US investment firm RiverOak Investment Corp attempting to convince the local authority, Thanet District Council (TDC) that it is a suitable indemnity partner for a compulsory purchase order. TDC has refused to progress as it says RiverOak has not disclosed any material detail of its Business Plan for reasons of commercial confidentiality.

RiverOak Investment Corp has been trying to acquire the site since it closed in May 2014, and has been trying to use a development consent order to gain control, with the intention of turning Manston into a cargo hub capable of handling at least 10,000 air traffic movements per annum.

Before Manston closed it was handling around 30,000 tonnes of cargo per annum but had been losing more than £3 million a year while it was owned by Infratil, which sold it for £1 in 2013 to Manston Skyport, before the hub ceased operations on 15 May 2014. It was then sold to Stone Hill Park in September 2014, which wants to redevelop the site.