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Sir Roger Gale says Manston Airport owner Ann Gloag has 'genuine care' for staff and remains hopeful a buyer can be found for 'a fair price'

16 April 2014
by Chris Price

An MP leading the campaign to save Manston Airport says he feels a buyer can still be found after meeting with owners today.

Sir Roger Gale says he now accepts the airport’s results have been disappointing after being show figures by Ann Gloag this morning, who bought the airport for £1 in November.

The North Thanet MP and Stagecoach founder had a lengthy discussion in the House of Commons about the future of the business.

North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale with his Thanet South colleague Laura Sandys at the packed public meeting in Acol on the future of Manston Airport.

North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale with his Thanet South colleague Laura Sandys at the packed public meeting in Acol on the future of Manston Airport

Following the discussion Sir Roger said he feels owners have a “genuine care” for the future of staff at the airport and that a deal could still be made if a buyer was willing to pay “a fair price”.

Once again insisting he does not want to raise false hopes, he announced he will be raising the issue in Parliament during an adjournment debate.

After the talks, Sir Roger said: “It is clear from the figures that I have now seen, that the results generated by the airport have been disappointing and the loss of some anticipated revenue streams has placed the operators in a difficult financial position.

“I believe, though, that there is genuine care for the future of the staff and goodwill towards the airport as a going concern.

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

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

“Even at this late stage I think that a buyer with the resources to pay a fair price for the assets and to meet the operating costs while the business is developed were to come forward then the “willing seller/willing buyer” demands could be met.

“Clearly time is now short and in the interests of all concerned – and from my point of view most particularly of those constituents that I represent who are employed at Manston – a decision will have to be taken in fairly short order.

“I hold to – and have reiterated – the view that it is in the national interest that Manston should remain open as an operational airfield.

“While I again do not wish to raise false hopes I shall continue to see if there is a way to keep open and to realise the true potential of the airport.

A consultation has begun into the closure of Manston Airport

A consultation has begun into the closure of Manston Airport

“In that desire I am, of course, joined by Laura Sandys who, as South Thanet`s MP, has been resolute in her support for the project.”

The Manston Working Group – which is exploring ways to keep the site open – expects to hold its inaugural meeting on Monday, April 24, on the same day Sir Roger will raise the matter in the Commons.

Management met with workers today (Wednesday), including Unite union members, with a staff rescue plan for the troubled airport still being considered.

Workers will meet management again on Thursday, April 24.

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