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Amsterdam flights take off from Manston

Twice-daily flights to Amsterdam are to take off from Manston, it's been revealed.

International airline KLM has just made the announcement at a press conference in Canterbury.

The move comes after a poll of Kent residents saw 9,000 responses, with "staggering support" for the international flights.

The first of the 55-minute flights to Schiphol will take off at 6.30am each day, with the second one a little later.

Flights will cost £99, and the Fokker 70 jet engine aircraft will carry up to 80 passengers from April 2 next year.

The move will link passengers from the Kent International Airport with 133 destinations accessed from Amsterdam. The centre of the city is said to be just 15 to 20 minutes from the airport.

The new service could create dozens of jobs and re-establish Manston’s reputation as an ideal airport for scheduled operators.

It might also widen the appeal for potential buyers after New Zealand-based Infratil put the airport up for sale.

Speaking ahead of the announcement, Manston chief executive Charles Buchanan said the survey had played a big part in KLM's decision.

He said: "We surveyed the local residents across the county and we got a staggering response.

"We had 5,000 responses within two days and we had 9,000 responses in less than a fortnight - and those have helped inform the decision by KLM to set up this route."

He said capacity was not a problem at the airport - which had the largest underutilsed capacity anywhere in the South East.

But he said the move would have great benefits: "It provides people with the opportunity to travel both into and out of the county; to attract businesses in; to provide a boost to places like Discovery Park, that are looking to attract businesses to take over the sites there.

"It puts people in touch with their friends and families and holiday destinations across the world."

Manston Airport currently has the capacity for up to one million passengers a year, with a master plan to boost numbers to  five million by 2033.

Last year, nearly 50 million passengers passed through Schiphol, making it one of Europe’s busiest airports.


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