RiverOak brands Manston report “irrelevant” and “thin on evidence”

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Manston Airport before it was closed in 2014

The US investment firm attempting to purchase Manston Airport with the plan to reopen it as a cargo hub has branded a report describing it as “unviable” as “irrelevant” and “thin on evidence”.

RiverOak Investment Corp has been attempting to purchase the airport which closed in May 2014 as an indemnity partner with the local authority, Thanet District Council (TDC), which has turned the offer down saying the US firm has not provided relevant information.

AviaSolutions produced a report for TDC assessing the potential for reopening Manston, but states it would not be financially viable until at least 2031 and probably not even on a longer term basis beyond 2040, saying there is no demand.

In response, RiverOak says the report is “extremely thin when it comes to evidence on freight demand” saying the forecast was based on a period where there was “a considerable and growing level of unsatisfied demand”.

The US investor says AviaSolutions’ interviews were unsatisfactory, interviewing four companies, two making positive comments to conclude there was no demand in the freight industry to reopen Manston. RiverOak says it has conducted 17 interviews and counting which were all positive and it will publish the results “in due course”.

RiverOak says: “We therefore recommend that Thanet Council waits to see the evidence that forms part of our application before reaching any conclusions on the viability of Manston Airport as a cargo hub.”