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Ex-Manston airport boss Charles Buchanan hired as chief executive of Lydd airport five months after Thanet airfield's closure

The former chief executive of recently-closed Manson airport has been given the job of running its Kent rival Lydd, with campaigners branding him a "traitor".

Charles Buchanan has been appointed as boss of the airfield on Romney Marsh, which is set to begin work on a runway extension later this year.

His four-year tenure at Manston came to an end when its owner Ann Gloag decided to close the airport in May, having bought the site in November for £1.

Charles Buchanan when he was Manston airport chief executive
Charles Buchanan when he was Manston airport chief executive

The Thanet airfield became the fifth largest cargo airport in the UK under his management and he introduced scheduled flights to Amsterdam with KLM.

Yet the Save Manston group say former workers – many of whom have been unable to find new jobs in the aviation industry – feel betrayed by their ex-boss.

Chairman Keith Churcher said: "They think he's a traitor. His appointment has not gone down too well with them.

"I would question his appointment 100%. He was brought in to save Manston and make it viable. Yet now he is working at an airport in an extremity of the South East."

Charles Buchanan pictured at Lydd airport, where he has been appointed chief executive
Charles Buchanan pictured at Lydd airport, where he has been appointed chief executive

Mr Buchanan has 30 years' experience in the developing transport infrastructure, including 10 years at London City Airport, where he gained planning permission to increase the number of flights by 50% and delivered infrastructure projects totalling £30million.

He also spent 12 years with Channel Tunnel operator Eurotunnel, latterly as group sales manager working both in the UK and on the Continent.

Charles Buchanan speaks to MP Sir Roger Gale on the day Manston airport closed in May
Charles Buchanan speaks to MP Sir Roger Gale on the day Manston airport closed in May

Mr Buchanan said: "I've joined Lydd at a very exciting time and I'm now working with the rest of the senior management team and staff to bring the airport's development plans to fruition.

"I relish the opportunity of growing Lydd's role and importance in the local economy as it develops into a first-class modern regional airport, creating employment opportunities and delivering lasting benefits for the people of Shepway and Kent."


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