Independent research by a leading aviation consultancy into the economic impact of Manston suggests that the Kent airport would deliver nearly £65 million GVA a year to the local economy by 2018 if its Master Plan development is realised.
Importantly, given the recent announcement of Pfizer’s departure from Sandwich, York Aviation’s research also suggests the airport would provide direct employment for 2,070 people and a further 1,035 jobs in the wider economy by 2018 on the basis of the Master Plan.
The findings of the York Aviation study are consistent with the airport’s Master Plan and the owner’s commitment to developing a South East regional airport offering scheduled passenger services, chartered flights and handling international freight.
The report follows questions raised by Thanet District Council about the economic impact of the airport after a review by Bureau Veritas to help it determine its response to any future night time policy submission from Manston.
The results of the research are released as work gets underway on a new multi-million pound radar system and the airport is getting ready to launch the three times a week Flybe scheduled passenger service to Belfast City, as well as and celebrating the anniversary of the first flight to Edinburgh.
Using data from the Master Plan, the airport’s customers and aviation industry, York Aviation concluded that the ability to handle some aircraft movements between 23.00hrs and 07.00hrs would be necessary for Manston to attract a low-cost airline with planes based at the airport, as well as handle greater levels of freight from around the world.
Charles Buchanan, Chief Executive Officer of Manston, said: “Our aspiration is to have aircraft actually based at the airport as this would significantly increase the number of routes we could serve and passengers arriving and departing from Manston. Persuading airlines to base planes at the airport would generate further local employment opportunities for cabin crew and additional airport jobs.
“Despite the current economic situation we remain confident that airlines will choose Manston and build upon our Flybe services and charter services.
“The research examined the viability of the airport’s Master Plan and concluded that the aspiration to become a sustainable South East regional airport could only be achieved by Manston ensuring it has a mix of passenger and freight services using the airport.”
The Master Plan shows the airport handling 2.2 million passengers and 167,000 tonnes of freight by 2018. This research shows that these levels are achievable, provided the management of the Night-time Flying Policy is implemented as proposed.
Charles Buchanan added: “We recognise that the issue of night flights is a high profile one within the District and we are currently developing our detailed proposal and hope to be in a position to submit it shortly, and then for public consultation to begin.”
York Aviation is in the process of finalising the second part of the research which will assess the impact that the imposition of a stringent night movement policy would have on the airport’s economic impact and commercial operation.