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Newmarket Holidays confirms it will move chartered flights from Manston to Lydd Airport as uncertainty remains over Thanet site's future

By Chris Price

More woes have been heaped onto troubled Manston Airport as another operator has revealed plans to leave the site – for a rival Kent airfield.

Newmarket Holidays will relocate its chartered flights to Lydd Airport from June as uncertainty remains over the Thanet site’s future.

Passengers flying to Verona and Naples this summer have had their flights moved from Manston to Lydd, with all future flights set to continue from the Romney Marsh airfield.

Lydd airport on Romney Marsh
Lydd airport on Romney Marsh

The move is a coup for Lydd as it presses ahead with £25m plans to extend its runway and build a new terminal.

Yet it is another nail in the coffin for beleaguered Manston, which has already seen freight airline Saudi Cargo suspend operations and Dutch passenger service KLM leaving for good today.

The airport is midway through a 45-day consultation on its closure, after new owner Ann Gloag signalled the loss-making airport was unviable.

Newmarket Holidays’ regional charter manager Amanda George said: “We have enjoyed a very happy and successful relationship with Manston International over many years, and will be saddened if the airfield closes.

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

However, we are excited to be beginning a new chapter at Lydd, which will mean Kent passengers can still begin and end their holidays at a local airport, which is what they enjoy doing”.

Lydd Airport’s management team added “Whilst we are shocked and saddened by the situation at Manston, we look forward to working with Newmarket Holidays to enable the people of Kent and East Sussex to continue to fly from their local airport with the minimum of hassle."

Further details about autumn operations are expected from the operator in the next few days.

In the meantime Newmarket have announced a free parking offer at Lydd for all passengers joining them in 2014.

Ms George added: “In recognition of the inconvenience for some of our east Kent passengers, we’re delighted that we are able, in association with the management at the airport, to make this generous offer to those passengers wanting to leave a car at Lydd for the time they’re away."

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