One small step for Infratil perhaps but one giant leap for Manston, if indeed we can expect the imminent arrival of British Airways World Cargo, as a result of tonight's council decision to amend the airport's existing 106 agreement to allow night flights.
I voted for the motion as did the great majority of Thanet councillors. The people I have spoken to are almost universally in favour of the idea of BA, the nation's flag carrier, operating from Manston and other councillors of both parties, broadly received the same impression from their own wards.
Laying aside the obvious incovenience and noise of 'out-of-hours' flights, this may still represent one of the biggest opportunities for Thanet in a long time. It gives us a significant brand association and places us firmly on the map, in a way that may yet attract other quality carriers to Manston.
What the future holds in this time of global recession, we can't know but the Manston decision may offer a ray of hope for our local future, the noise of aircraft engines aside. If a little extra noise secures more opportunity for the local workforce then, I for one, believe that's a sacrifice worth making.