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Manston Airport welcomes nearly 500 passengers from four planes diverted from Heathrow in thick fog

12 December 2013
by Chris Price

Manston Airport has welcomed nearly 500 unexpected passengers this week as flights were diverted due to the fog.

Four British Airways planes travelling from Copenhagen, Stockholm, Vienna and Oslo had to land at the Thanet site on Wednesday as the bad weather made landing at Heathrow unsafe.

Bosses see the unexpected arrival of the Airbus 319 and 320s as a boost to the airport’s status just days before the Davies Commission is expected to report on airport capacity in the UK.

Manston Airport

Manston Airport

Chief executive Charles Buchanan said: “The ability to handle these diversions demonstrates the flexibility and resilience Manston can deliver to the airport system of London and the South East today.

“The four British Airways aircraft, all en route to Heathrow from Scandinavian cities, needed to divert due to fog and Manston was selected as their destination.

Chief executive Charles Buchanan, pictured, will work alongside turnaround specialist Alastair Welch

Chief executive Charles Buchanan

“Just days before the Airports Commission publishes its Interim Report, Manston has shown the importance of having a diversified range of airport capacity to serve London and the South East.

“Flights that would otherwise not have started their journey were able to land close to the capital.

“Resilience in airport capacity is supported by having several airports able to meet travel needs, rather than all the eggs in one basket.”

The Airports Commission chaired by Sir Howard Davies was set up by the government last year.

It is due to issue an interim report with a shortlist of the best options on Tuesday, with implications for airports at Lydd, Rochester and Manston in Kent.

A joint report by three London councils close to Heathrow this week suggests the commission is likely to bin plans to build a huge airport in Medway, either at Grain, Cliffe or a floating island in the estuary itself.

It claimed closing the west London airport would lead to the loss of up to 250,000 jobs.

The report by Hounslow, Slough and Ealing councils says the closure would be an economic disaster.

The interim report is expected to include three recommendations of either a third runway at Heathrow, four runways at Heathrow or extra runways at Heathrow and Gatwick.

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