Manston Airport to be sold
Manston Airport is up for sale, it's
The shock announcement casts a
question mark over the future of the more than 100 staff employed
at the Kent International Airport.
Owners Infratil made the announcement
at an investor day in Wellington, New Zealand today. Its other UK
airport, Prestwick near Glasgow, is also up for sale.
Infratil’s decision arises from a
'refocusing of its investment profile'.
Charles Buchanan, chief executive of
Manston Airport (pictured just below left), said: "This represents
an opportunity for Manston to build upon the improvements Infratil
has already made, and attract new investment into the airport and
stimulate the growth needed to make it a success in the future.
"For now and during this process it will be business as
usual for the airport.
"I certainly view this as an
opportunity to work with new investors whose development strategies
and investment profiles more closely match the needs of businesses
such as ours at this time."
PwC has been appointed as advisers to
help in the sale of Manston.
PwC partner, Coolin Desai, said:
"Manston Airport represents a strategic opportunity for an investor
in light of the well-documented congestion affecting all major
airports serving London and the South East.
"With a runway capable of
accommodating large aircraft including 747s, there is significant
potential to grow both passenger and cargo traffic."
North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale
(pictured below)has welcomed the decision as "a great
He said he understood there was more
than one serious player interested in taking over and developing
the passenger and cargo potential of Manston.
Audio: Reaction to the
announcement that Manston's up for sale
He added: "With the ongoing debate
about the future of aviation in the South East in general, and of
the UK as an international hub in particular, it is clearly vital
that additional capacity is brought on stream in the immediate
"Manston offers the facility to take some of the pressure
off Heathrow, via Gatwick and that facility needs to be utilised by
an operator and/or airline that will make the most of the, at
present, under-used airport."
He said the potential for more jobs
was "very considerable indeed", and he hoped for swift transfer to
a new owner.
It comes after Infratil asked for regular night-time flying
at Manston Airport.
A consultation was launched, which closed last Friday.
Opinion was divided among the local community - with the
proposals garnering support as well as stiff opposition.
The council was due to come back with a response to its
consultation, based on Infratil's proposals and a report from
independent assessors, by the end of May.
But the airport has suffered recent setbacks - an announcement
in December last year revealed airline Flybe was due to stop using
the airport from this month.
It had run services to Belfast, Manchester and Edinburgh.
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