January 22 - The UK's National Infrastructure Planning inspectorate has received an application from RiverOak Investment Corporation to reopen Manston Airport in Kent.
HLPFI reported on May 12, 2014 that the airport's former owners, the Gloag Foundation, closed the airport due to ongoing operational losses and lack of profitability in the medium term. On December 12, 2014, Thanet district councillors voted against pursuing a compulsory purchase order for the airport, which spelled the end for the gateway.
However, RiverOak has now filed an application to upgrade and reopen Manston Airport primarily as a cargo airport, with some passenger services, with a capacity of at least 12,000 air cargo movements per year.
RiverOak said it would undertake a monthly meeting with the planning inspectorate to discuss how to move the development consent order forwards, the first of which will take place in February 2016.
During February 2015, The Baltic Air Charter Association (BACA) expressed its opinion that Manston Airport should not have been allowed to close. It said that Manston Airport was the RAF master diversion airport for many years, and has always provided a valuable service to the whole aviation industry.
Manston has one of the widest runways in the UK and is capable of handling every type of aircraft, including extremely large commercial and military aircraft; while its close proximity to Europe means that flight times are reduced and fuel savings increased for many European destinations.
BACA also drew attention to a lack of available runway capacity in the UK to cope with future requirements. A survey by KPMG concluded that by 2030, London's airports will be full to capacity, and airlines from Asia and other parts of the world are choosing to operate services from Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam, instead of London.