Thursday, June 07, 2012

Night Flights Online

The very heated Council debate on the matter of Night Flights for Manston airport is now available to view online here:

For readers on both sides of the argument, who didn't have a chance to attend the meeting or experience is 'highlights' this is a chance to listen to the debate, judge the facts and arrive at your own conclusions.

As a pilot, it does worry me that a number of comments made during the debate and presented as fact, were uninformed personal speculation. However, among the speeches, you can enjoy Sandy Ezekiel's very passionate speech and the moment  (97:00 minutes) when Cllr Driver predicts the end of the aviation industry and a return to carts and horses; "The sooner it closes down the better."

Cllr Mrs Fenner and Cllr Mrs Johnston firmly believe that the airport is bad for tourism on the island. Cllr Mrs Green appears to believe that in some third-world countries night flights are not permitted and that this has an impact on Manston. Which third-world countries I would like to know as I'm sure would British Airways too.

I try and correct some  of these misconceptions at minute 99:00 and dismiss the idea of Manston being turned into a CenterParc or local heritage attraction.

And finally.. I'm going to start alternating the background images on this weblog and today's is one I've entitled 'Another View of Margate' which is receiving some popular traction across the web's photo sites.


Cllr David Green said...

To me,there were two highly significant aspects of the debate relating to the less than subtle change in the Conservative position. The first was the absence of Cllrs Kirby and Hayton.
Obviously self preservation won over party loyalty.
More significant was the change of Conservative line from support of the Airport's request to be allowed to fly limited flights all night and more in the "shoulder" periods to just supporting a "bit of flexibility around the evening shoulder period to allow freight from Africa. As I tried to point out we were debating a consultation response. I expect the Airport to respond to the Council's concerns and we will take it from there.

Cllr David Green

Anonymous said...

Trouble is, that what Infratil was asking for was also uninformed speculation, presented as facts.

simon moores said...

The result did of course remove any provision for flexibility whatsoever and completely failed to recognise that aviation is subject to delays but that carriers require certainty that once an aircraft departs from the other side of the world, it will be permitted to land at its destination regardless of being delayed en-route.

Anonymous said...

Thanet under Labour..................

Anonymous said...

There is the provision today for planes to land after 11pm. The 'noisy' ones get fined. It doesn't get collected (that what you get with misguided loyalty from our local civil servants), but it's there probably as a deterrent. Perhaps if Conservatives supported no scheduled night time flying with a provision for allowing late arrivals as long as they paid a hefty fee for it, they might not have been politically shut out of Ramsgate.

Remember this wasn't about flexibility Simon, it was about unlimited flying between 11pm and 7am.

Anonymous said...

I am confused about this argument over the airport and the whole thing around the benifits of nightflights.

Am I right in thinking that Manston currently can only sell around 10% of its potential daytime slots?

I am also right in thinking that large airports like Heathrow and Gatwick do not have scheduled night flight operation?

So are Manston saying that because other aiports refuse to take up cheap cargo night time flights then they can benefit form this?

How will half-a-dozen African fruit carrier flights per night increase employment in Thanet significantly? The only benefit I can see is a reduction in losses for the airport operator?

Are councillors clinging on to Manston as a viable airport in some way to prove to themselves that they have not been so wrong over so many years in putting all their "thanet Regeration" eggs in one tunnelled-visoned basket?

I see Southend airport progressing nicely with a smaller runway so I wonder where Manston and the council have got it so wrong for so many years. Incompetence??

Anonymous said...

I suspect some other former mayors have long been disowned by their parents!

Anonymous said...

The whole night flights issue is a red-herring. For years, the airport operators have said that they don't need scheduled night-flights. Infratil themselves did not say that they needed or wanted scheduled night-flights when they bought the airport, and they produced a business plan showing how they would break even by....last year. Not only did they fail to break-even, they failed to come anywhere near. Remember, Infratil's tenure follows many years of Wiggins failing to meet their own projections.

Since they've all got it so spectacularly wrong for so many years, why on earth would you now listen to them when they say they can break-even with a handful of scheduled night-flights? You'd have to be extraordinarily naive to believe this.

The airport is in the wrong place to be commercially successful. This was the essence of a report produced before it passed into private hands,; a report which both TDC and KCC ignored. Infratil can't admit that it's a commercial lemon because they are desperate to sell it as a going concern.

Anyone who was really interested in the economic well-being of Thanet would be looking at Manston with an open-mind and exploring alternative options for the site. There are many such options but none can surface until the Council concedes that it is prepared to consider alternate uses.