Thanet North MP Sir Roger Gale with Manston Airport Chief Executive Charles Buchanan.
Manston Airport is an immediate solution to the South East’s need for an additional runway identified in a new report, says Thanet North MP Sir Roger Gale.
He was speaking this morning following the publication of the Airports Commission’s Interim Report (ACIR) based on the findings of Sir Howard Davies.
It reviewed UK airport capacity and connectivity and concluded an extra runway needed to be in operation by 2030 with a likely demand for a second additional runway to be operational by 2050.
Sir Roger said: “I fear that unless we recognise the immediate concern and bridge the gap the long-term 'solution' may be irrelevant because the fight for this vital business will have been lost”.
“We can agonise for ever over the merits of another runway at Heathrow, another runway at Gatwick, more capacity at Stansted or `Boris Island` but the fact of the matter is that we are losing business to mainland Europe now. Unless we release capacity at Europe`s premier airport – Heathrow – immediately then concerns about where to build in the future will be academic because the traffic and the trade will have moved to Schiphol, Paris Charles de Gaulle or even Dubai.
“It will take years to get runways built at Heathrow or Gatwick and an Island airport is pie in the sky for the foreseeable future. We therefore have to use the facilities that are available immediately to take some of the peripheral freight and package-tour pressure of Gatwick to in turn relieve Heathrow. That means using Manston – an airfield that is, in travelling time, potentially closer to Central London than Heathrow and is available immediately.”
The ACIR will be looking into proposals for a new runway at Gatwick airport, to the south of the existing runway, and for two options at Heathrow.
The report also contains recommendations to the Government for immediate action to improve the use of existing runway capacity.