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Unite union members submit short and long-term rescue plan to Manston Airport owner Ann Gloag

By Paul Francis

Staff at Manston Airport have put forward a rescue plan they say could safeguard its future.

Two plans have been presented to owner Ann Gloag - one covering the immediate future and a second for the long-term - which the Unite union says could reverse the airport's commercial fortunes and ensure its viability.

Unite, which has 40 members at Manston, said the plans could chart a profitable future for the airport.

A KLM flight takes off from Manston airport to Schiphol in Amsterdam

It has also asked the company to extend the 45-day consultation – due to end on May 11 – so that all options can be explored to safeguard Manston's future.

Unite regional officer Ian McCoulough said: "The workforce prepared two impressive business plans in a very short time to save Manston from closure for the management to consider.

"The employees are doing all they can to chart a viable future for the airport which is vital to the local economy."

He added: "Its closure would be a hammer blow for Kent, however, the airport’s future looks a bit brighter this week with the presentation of these two business plans."

Businesswoman Ann Gloag owns 20% of the site along with Trevor Cartner and Chris Musgrave. Picture: Craig Watson/ SWNS.com

It is understood the airport management team has agreed to examine the rescue bid, but details of what they involve have not been disclosed.

Unite has also asked for the period of consultation with staff to be extended to 90 days.

Meanwhile, the fate of Manston Airport has been raised in the House of Commons by Thanet North MP Sir Roger Gale today.

In a question to the speaker, he sought an assurance that the government would give "consideration as to how the predatory disposal of national assets with security implications may be averted".

It follows yesterday's news that an interested consortium had withdrawn from talks about a buyout from owner Ann Gloag, a potentially devastating blow for the airport.

Thanet North MP Sir Roger Gale with Manston Airport chief executive Charles Buchanan

Sir Roger emphasised Manston's role as planned search and rescue facility as well as being a diversion airport for planes.

"Only this week a jet destined for Heathrow and running short of fuel had to be diverted to Manston.

"I am still hopeful that, with goodwill, it may be possible to secure a buyer prepared to keep the airport open.

"If Manston does close I shall seek to raise the background to the matter in an adjournment debate."

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