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Residents meet to save Manston Airport from closure

by Andy Dickenson

The future of Manston Airport hangs in the balance. That was the message from supporters and workers alike at a meeting in Kent today - the airports owners' said it could close following a consultation. Andy Dickenson reports.

The interviewees are: Laura Sandys MP for South Thanet; and Sir Roger Gale MP for North Thanet.

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Big crowd outside meeting on Manston Airport's future

A meeting is underway in East Kent in a bid to keep Manston Airport open. The site's owners announced plans to close the airfield earlier this month.

The shock announcement was made on Thursday 20th March. A process of consultation is underway. The airport employs 150 local people.

A crowd of people listening to proceedings on loudspeaker outside the meeting about Manston Airport's future

A few days ago the local MP, Roger Gale - who represents Thanet North - said he had been approached by a potential buyer for the site.

A packed hall for thee meeting about Manston Airport's future

Consortium are interested in buying Manston Airport

A Kent MP says he has been contacted by a consortium interested in buying Manston Airport.

Last week, the site's owner said it could close after a 45 day consultation leaving 150 people without jobs.

North Thanet's Roger Gale says a potential buyer has shown interest in taking over the running of the airport.

Already, more than 11,000 people have signed a petition to keep the airport running.

North Thanet MP says he has been contacted by someone who is interested in buying Manston Airport Credit: ITV Meridian

VIDEO: Campaign to keep Manston open begins

The shock news that Manston Airport in Kent faces closure has triggered a top-level campaign to keep it in business.

Senior figures in local and central government are assembling a 'taskforce' of potential investors to rescue the airport from financial crisis.

The announcement by the airport's new owners - of possible shutdown within 45 days was described today as a 'body blow' to Thanet.

The potential of the airport, is seen as vital to the regeneration of east Kent and the creation of thousands of jobs over the next five years.

Thanet MPs Roger Gale and Laura Sandys are pressing for ministerial action. And Kent County Council says closure must be averted.

Today once again the airport's owners declined an interview. Today Fred Dinage spoke to Nicholas Reed, who's founder of the campaign group Why Not Manston.

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Union seeks 'clarification' over potential airport closure

The Unite union has responded to an announcement from the managers of Manston Airport in Kent that the site could close. Union officials said they were seeking clarification about the airport's future. A 45-day period of consultation has begun.

“The news has just broken and I am seeking clarification from the management about the airport’s future. Until I have had that conversation, it would not be appropriate to comment at length.

“Unite is the major union at the airport and represents employees, such as the fire service and the baggage handlers. Unite will do everything possible to safeguard the interests of our members in the days and weeks ahead.

“Any loss of employment would be a hard blow for the local economy.”

– Ian McCoulough, Unite regional officer

Councillor 'disappointed' with news Manston could close

Leader of Thanet District Council and Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Regeneration Cllr Clive Hart has given this statement with regard to the possible closure of Manston Airport:

This is potentially a devastating blow to the local economy with the potential loss of direct and indirect employment in Thanet. The council has been clear that it has supported the future development of the airport. We have worked with operators to ensure that the economic benefits to the district could be maximised including the council’s direct port of entry service and therefore this is very disappointing news.’

– Cllr Clive Hart

Consultation of possible closure of Manston Airport

A spokesperson for Manston Airport has given this statement with regards to the possibility the airport could close:

Following a meeting with staff at Manston Airport in Kent today, Wednesday 19th March, we can confirm we have commenced a process of consultation over the possible orderly closure of the airport.


No further comment will be made until the consultation period with staff has been concluded.”

– Manston Airport
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