Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Not by Night

I have received the video of the Manston Night Flights debate from the Thanet District Council meeting of 24th May, 2012. As promised, I have placed this online, so everyone, who may be interested, can see how we finally arrived at last week's closure of the airport, given the level of night-flight restriction placed upon it by Clive Hart's Labour administration at the time. You might note my cartoon from then.

If you watch it carefully and ignore the robust and often personal nature of the debate, you will have a much clearer idea of the individual  political positions on the airport's future and the level of support expressed by several prominent councillors, that may indeed be at odds with what they have claimed their stance was of late.

How naive I was in believing that Manston could not be closed-down because of a Ministry of Defence commitment to its runway, as obviously, the information I was given, was quite wrong.


Michael Child said...

Simon with the way things have turned out this does raise three questions, which you may be able to answer.

How many night flights a week were the Conservative group asking for?

How many night flights a week do you think it would have taken for the airport to have remained open?

If the Conservative group manage to get TDC to cpo Manston how many night flights a week do envisage would be needed to attract enough business to make the airport work?

I am asking this because at no point do those for night flights seem to have given any idea of how many they actually wanted, in any way that I could comprehend and I guess if the RiverOak plans envisaged for a freight hub come to fruition then the flights would be 747s which should make it easy for an aviation expert to work out.

Anonymous said...

I was wondering what the 3 exact points you were voting on. As it does not seem clear
Thank you

Peter Checksfield said...

Ian Driver is supposedly supporting the airport now, but watching this makes me wonder how genuine that "support" really is! I have asked him via Twitter for a comment on the video, but he has yet to respond.

Michael Child said...

Simon my understanding, having looked into to the matter of Manston night flights is that TDC were never in a position to change the night flying situation set out in Manston’s S 106 agreement and that the council only acted as a consultee to Infratil’s consultation.

As I understand it the legal situation was when this council meeting occurred and remained so up until the airport closed, that the airport only had to give the council 6 months notice and could have run scheduled night flights.

William Epps said...

Michael, you really just do not get it do you? This whole issue of night flights was never about numbers, proportions between day and night or quotas on a par with Heathrow as you trundle out from time to time.

It all comes down to the fact that the local authority under Labour made their negativity towards night flights, in pursuit of winning a couple of wards in Ramsgate, plain to see. This had the effect of causing the airport operators to question the viability of running and expanding an airport in the face of hostility from the local authority.

As Chris Wells has already pointed out to you, no amount of dancing on the head of a pin is going to change the facts.

1 o'clock Rob said...

Michael, nobody could have stopped Infratil or anyone else from operating night flights without a Judge and an injunction.

The S106 was an agreement and as such, worthless.

Anonymous said...

As has been pointed out, despite the council's declared opposition to night flights, had the airport decided to operate them, nothing bar legal action would have stopped them. In fact, they did go ahead any way. The first KLM flight in the morning was at 6.30 - in contravention of a supposed night flight ban - night time being from 11pm to 7am. Did the council do anything about this? No. The plain facts of the matter are that the failure to attract operators to Manston was never about night flights.