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MPs welcome airport deal

Kent MPs Sir Roger Gale for Thanet North and Laura Sandys for Thanet South have both welcomed the news that KLM/Air France will run a twice-daily service between Manston International Airport and Schiphol near Amsterdam.

For more than twenty years a few of us have staked our faith in the belief that Manston has a job-creating future as a successful regional airport. We have, of course, seen some false starts but this is the first time that a major international flag-carrier has made a commitment to regular flights to mainland Europe. With Schiphol's status as one of Europe's fastest-growing inter-lining airports this move really does connect Kent with the rest of the world and the rest of the world with Kent."

– Sir Roger Gale MP, Thanet North

I am delighted that KLM have decided to start offering flights from Manston. This makes Thanet even better connected with the rest of the world and makes our area a more attractive place to invest. I am very much looking forward to supporting KLM to ensure that this route is a success."

– Laura Sandys, MP Thanet South

Sir Roger added that plans for a third runway at Heathrow or a second at Gatwick were all a long way in the future. He said the demand for more airport capacity in the south east was immediate.

Major deal for Manston, despite sell-off

Manston airport Credit: PA

One of the world's biggest airlines has tonight confirmed a major deal which will see regular flights linking Manston, in Kent, with the international hub airport at Amsterdam's Schipol airport.

KLM, which is part of Air France, will operate twice-daily flights. It's seen as a major boost to tourism and business for the airport, which is currently looking for a buyer.

Infrastructure investment firm Infratil announced in March that it was to sell the airport as part of a refocusing of its investment profile.

However, in its half-year results published today, it said: "The sales process for both the Glasgow Prestwick and Kent airports has been unsuccessful to date and as a result Infratil took an impairment charge of £22.5 million at the half year to write-down the value of both assets.

"The European airports are continuing to operate in a cost minimisation basis.

"The current intention is to continue to seek a buyer for the airports and work with local stakeholders to review alternatives."

Infratil said manston is currently valued at £7.6 million.

For more than 20 years, via a series of owners and operators, Manston has tried and failed to establish itself as a major south-east airport.