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Manston airport: Protest by Save Manston group as new hope emerges with US consortium RiverOak seeking another meeting

09 May 2014
by Chris Price

Campaigners will gather outside Manston airport tonight to protest against the closure of the site.

Thanet residents from the Save Manston group will come together at 6pm for a "peaceful protest".

Earlier this week, owner Ann Gloag announced she was closing the airport after a consultation failed to find a "viable alternative".

Campaigners Ruth Bailey, left, and Jenny Milligan, centre, wave off the final KLM flight with other protestors

Campaigners Ruth Bailey, left, and Jenny Milligan, centre, wave off the final KLM flight with other protestors

However, it has emerged bosses from American group RiverOak Investment Corp are seeking to open a dialogue with the Scottish businesswoman, who is understood to be in the US.

The consortium confirmed its chief executive has tried to make contact with the Stagecoach founder personally but is yet to receive a response.

Save Manston group chairman Keith Churcher said: "We are expecting a high turnout for the peaceful protest, which is happening to let the staff know we are supporting them and doing everything we can to save the airport.

"Hopefully it will also send a message to the owner that there is public support for her to sell it or keep it open."

This week Connecticut-based RiverOak went public with their intention to buy the site after they had a £5m bid for the airport turned down by Ann Gloag.

Former Manston managing director Tony Freudmann is working for the group as spokesman and confirmed their chief executive was trying to speak to Mrs Gloag "principal to principal".

Businesswoman Ann Gloag owns Manston Airport. Picture Craig Watson SWNS.com

Businesswoman Ann Gloag owns Manston Airport. Picture: Craig Watson/ SWNS.com

Mr Churcher added: "Lots of things happen at the 11th hour and we are still positive.

"The staff have acted with nothing but pure professionalism even though this is incredibly hard. 

"I spoke to Ann Gloag last week and when I asked her what her intentions were she said to me 'everything's for sale'.

"So we need to know why bids have been rejected."

The airport is due to close on Thursday, May 15 at a loss of 144 jobs.

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