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Saudi Cargo to halt operations from Manston Airport from Monday amid continuing uncertainty over the site's future

By Paul Francis

A Middle East cargo operator is to suspend its flights into and out of Manston Airport amid continuing uncertainty over its fate.

Saudia Cargo has been running twice weekly flights from Kenya to Thanet and then to Saudi Arabia but the business will be suspended from next week.

In a short statement, a company spokesman said it would halt its operations from Monday.

Saudi Airlines Cargo has chosen Manston Airport for its first freighter operation in the UK
Saudi Airlines Cargo has chosen Manston Airport for its first freighter operation in the UK

The news is a further blow to the airport, which could close within weeks.

Saudi Cargo launched its service last September using its 747s to bring in fresh produce and flowers.

At the time, the company was optimistic about using Manston.

The airline’s vice-president of cargo commercial Peter Scholten said: “Manston was the airport of choice for our clients in Kenya for perishables exports to the UK, and there is a growing demand for maindeck cargo from the UK to Saudi Arabia.

Manston Airport
Manston Airport

"This combination of two different markets is a perfect fit for our network.”

The company is one of a number using Manston for freight cargo and is regarded as one of the world’s leading operators in the field.

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They are hoping to brief a public meeting in Thanet on Saturday.

Meanwhile, news broke this week about a potential buyer for the airport backed by a consortium.

The government will also be pressed to act to try and save Manston by the area’s two MPs on Wednesday.

Sir Roger Gale and Laura Sandys are due to hold a meeting with the aviation minister to discuss the prospects for the airport and ways in which it could be saved.

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