Information and recent history about Manston Airport ( Kent International Airport, Manston)
It was only recently that thing's started to improve, as operations were temporarily suspended on 26th July 2005 when London Manston Airport Plc went into liquidation. Radar services and air traffic zones were shut down until a new investor could be found. On the 26th of August 2005 the owner of Glasgow Prestwick Airport bought Manston on behalf of Infratril.
In July 2006 it was announced that Tour operator Cosmos would operate a Charter route between Manston and Norfolk, Virginia in conjunction with Monarch Airlines. Scheduled to start service in 2007, low bookings have now forced the route to be cancelled.
Three years ago on April 17th, Cargolux - a Luxembourg based cargo airline - started flying from Accra to Kent International for Ghana Airways
Seguro Travel Limited operated charter flights from Manston under the name 'Kent Escapes' in 2007, having flights operated by Sky Wings on a McDonnel Douglas MD-80 through to August. Several problems then caused Serguro to change operators, and from August the 16th BMI took over flights for a short period. Spanished based airline 'Futura' were operating flights by the end of the season, using a Boeing 737. October 2008 saw Seguro travel cease trade as a result of Futura Airlines doing the same a couple of weeks before in September.
Continental Aviation Services took over the DAS Air Cargo hanger at the airport in November 2007. It functioned as a maintanance bay for them to work the companys planes as along with Avient Aviation, Omni Air International, Gemini Air Cargo, and World Airways - although early 2009 they went into administration. A few months after, AvMan Engineering claimed the site to work on BAe-146 and McDonnel Douglas MD-80's, among other engines.
The airport also houses Polar Helicopters near the cargo terminal in their own hanger. A small fleet of helicopters are in operation for VIP and charter services, and still on site is The RAF Manston History Museum, diplaying the Spitfire and Hurricane memorial for the public to visit.
A plan was produced in 1998 by Thanet District Council to review the possible economical development's of the dis-used area's of the ex-military airfield, and once published, plans were made to sell RAF Manston by the MoD. They sold the site after Gordon Brown made a conservative desicion and ruled that government departments should accumulate sales by selling unused assets.
Dr. Stephen Ladyman fought against the site being bought by a property development company 'Wiggins Group PLC'. The Ministry of Defence sold the base for 4.75m in March 1999.
Originally Kent International Airport spanned a 38 acre area inside the RAF Manston base (not including the runway), with the residing terminal and apron for some of the largest freighters to be loaded. The owners of Kent International Airport came to a 125 year legal settlement with the RAF in 1988, making the Air Force responsible for sustaining the runway, managing air traffic control and arrange ongoing emergency services at an estimated cost by the MoD of 3m a year.
The 'Wiggins Group' bought Kent International Airport and gained the legal agreement that made the RAF continue to manage the base, as the RAF were at risk of paying a compensation claim of £50-100m if they shut the airfield and cancelled their previous contract. Nearly months later an announcement from the RAf stated they were departing and the rest of the airfield was purchased by Wiggins.
Efforts to make it a budget airline centre started in 2004, when a Irish airline EUjet created in 2002 launched flights in Septemeber 2004. A small fleet of Fokker 100 airliners equipped to fly passengers to locations like Dublin, Manchester and Edingburgh. A direct coach service from Bluewater going through Chatham was produced to assist with the economic aspects of development encouragin a low fare, web-marketing strategy discovered by the UK's Ryanair.
EUjet Operations were deffered in addition to every non-freight operation in the airport on July 26th 2005. this was after having fiscal problems due to aspiring business plan from the airline 'Planestation' and it's owner. The plan failed, resulting in the collaspe of both businesses and creating many stranded people abroad. This was when Infratril, the airport's current owners, went to the asministrators and purchased the airport interest.
Plans to develop Manston into a major airport were labelled unsuitable in 1993 when the Department of trade and Industry examined the runway capacity in South East England. Yet the sale was negative to the councils plan and lost £65,000,000.
'The Future Air of Transport', a government issued White Paper; was produced in 2003, declaring that Manston may play a vital role in reaching local demand targets and be a great asset to the growth of economy in the local areas. 'Subject to relevant environmantal considerations', the government would encourage development fundamentally.
A claim to fame for the site was being altered for use in the creation of the James Bond film 'Die Another Day', being modelled on a North Korea air base. Filming took place on May 7th 2002, Monday to Thurday; and to pull off the effect of making Kent look like Korea they filmed at night