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We should be making more of local airports

Posted on: August 20th, 2014 by Jules
Canterbury Times 18th August 2014:  We should be making more of local airports

Canterbury Times 18th August 2014: We should be making more of local airports

Schlepping to Gatwick, Stansted or Heathrow for the summer holidays? Spare a thought for more local airports.

Thanet council has been appealing for expressions of interest in running Manston airport. The search is part of the local authority’s consideration as to whether the compulsory purchase of the airport would be a viable option.

We should know the level of interest soon enough following the Aug. 20 deadline. The final stage will involve meetings set to take place in mid-September, depending on the level of response.

Any acquisition of the site would rely on significant investment with a minimum twenty-year business plan.

What a pity such robust qualifications didn’t form part of the sale process last time around!

To add insult to injury, the local business community is also being asked to consider the Boris Island plan to devastate the Thames estuary with an airport on the Isle of Grain.

Sir Howard Davies – yes the one who was meant to be regulating banks five years before they blew up – is now chairing the Airports Commission. He’s considering the locations best placed to add much needed airport capacity for the South East and UK.

So far, he has taken forward proposals for expansion at both Gatwick and Heathrow for further consideration. He will be announcing next month whether a new hub airport on the Isle of Grain will also be included in his review.

The Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce hasn’t publicly supported any particular scheme for Sir Howard’s review but is now considering the views of the business community.

Personally, I’m against building new airports when we have several that can be enlarged to cope with increased travel needs at a lower environmental and financial cost. For a start, there’s Southend Airport, which I used only last month. It was an absolute breeze to fly from there. A transport link, say from Ebbsfleet to Essex, would improve the connection even more.

Better still, Sir Howard should get together with Kent County Council to consider Manston.

The Chamber’s closing date for comments is Friday 22nd August 2014 at 5.00pm. Download a form at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/SNM29T3

Tweet me @julesserkin, Tune in to my shows @SCOFFQUAFF food & drink show for Kent every Tuesday live 11-12 & 1pm @businessbunker  on www.channelradio.co.uk

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