Shrewfly
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Manston Airport to Reopen?

Thu Jul 04, 2019 5:04 am

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-kent-48856921

Former RAF base in Southeast England, sold to developers who are wanting cargo and short haul flights

Cant see it myself.
The place was pretty much mothballed. Its had some work done on it to process HGVs, but the taxiways and runways probably arent up to handling much, I bet the ATC and terminal would need a massive update.

Is there really a commercial case for it? What airlines might go for it?
 
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PatrickZ80
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Re: Manston Airport to Reopen?

Thu Jul 04, 2019 5:20 am

From what I've heard they're turning it into a cargo airport, no passenger flights. Therefor it doesn't have to look fancy.

It's too far away from London for passenger flights, but cargo is a different story. There is quite some demand for cargo flights in the London area, but as more and more slots at the "traditional" London airports are needed for passenger flights, the cargo needs a relief airport. That can be Manston.

As it is now, most dedicated cargo flights for London use Stansted. No doubt there is belly cargo at Heathrow and Gatwick, but very few dedicated cargo flights. There's no room for them. But Stansted is growing as a passenger airport which means less room for cargo flights. East Midlands handles some of them, but it's further away from London. With Manston they find a place a bit further from London than Stansted but closer than East Midlands.
 
Shrewfly
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Re: Manston Airport to Reopen?

Thu Jul 04, 2019 5:38 am

BBC article states that the new owners calculate 680000pax in 5 years. Maybe if they get a LCC in then maybe, but is there really the local population to support an LCC? Its at the end of Kent, and the further west you go from Manston, the closer you get to Stansted and Gatwick. For passsengers its not in an ideal location, as much of its catchment area is water.

The cargo side I suppose can make sense, but for the amount that would need spending on the apron and taxiways, plus ATC (no idea what infrastructure is there or what state its in) and even fire coverage its going to be very very expensive. Thats before Customs processing and security is put in as well.

Manston has been a commercial airport before and the demand cant have been there for Cargo or Pax, as it was closed. I think when it shut KLM had flights to Amsterdam and that was it.

I'd love to see it reopen, but I really have my doubts. The Green lobby will protest it at every oppurtunity, and I just cant imagine there is a business case unless one of the big cargo players is going to pump a lot of money in themselves
 
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chunhimlai
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Re: Manston Airport to Reopen?

Thu Jul 04, 2019 5:58 am

is it the only real 4F airport in UK?
Last edited by chunhimlai on Thu Jul 04, 2019 6:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
 
bennett123
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Re: Manston Airport to Reopen?

Thu Jul 04, 2019 6:21 am

The last flight was KLM. I think it was an F70.

What is an 4F airport?.

Incidentally, it did regularly handle B747 in the past.
 
bhxalex
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Re: Manston Airport to Reopen?

Thu Jul 04, 2019 6:43 am

Whilst STN has plenty of freight capacity I can't see this going anywhere.

Manston is limited by it's location, yes it's not far from London as the crow flies. But for most Londoners, especially north of the Thames, then several other airports are much more convenient. It also lacks a direct rail service in to London, something all 6 of London's commericial airports have in one form or another.

In terms of passenger flights, millions would need to be spent on upgrading existing facilities and realistically the best they could hope for is KLM resuming if/when they aren't slot constrained at AMS. Or maybe W6 or FR using it as a mini south London reliever base for LTN & STN, both of which are quite far north of London, and neither have a particularly large presence at LGW.
 
Shrewfly
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Re: Manston Airport to Reopen?

Thu Jul 04, 2019 7:13 am

bhxalex wrote:
Whilst STN has plenty of freight capacity I can't see this going anywhere.

Manston is limited by it's location, yes it's not far from London as the crow flies. But for most Londoners, especially north of the Thames, then several other airports are much more convenient. It also lacks a direct rail service in to London, something all 6 of London's commericial airports have in one form or another.

In terms of passenger flights, millions would need to be spent on upgrading existing facilities and realistically the best they could hope for is KLM resuming if/when they aren't slot constrained at AMS. Or maybe W6 or FR using it as a mini south London reliever base for LTN & STN, both of which are quite far north of London, and neither have a particularly large presence at LGW.


Manston isnt too badly connected by rail. Ramsgate and Margate stations arent more than 10mins away by taxi I wouldn thave said. Thre are direct trains to St Pancras on High Speed 1 from both (no idea how long it takes though).

I can imagine a few smaller operators having a go, such as maybe Loganair to Scotland or even Eastern. Kent to the North is a long trek, so there might be some room for that. W6 maybe if there is a significant Eastern European population (Dont know if there is or not though).
 
bennett123
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Re: Manston Airport to Reopen?

Thu Jul 04, 2019 7:45 am

They used to have a bus from the centre via the Train station.

More eco friendly than a fleet of taxis.
 
uta999
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Re: Manston Airport to Reopen?

Thu Jul 04, 2019 8:21 am

A 4F Airport basically means a plane twice as large as an A380 could land there. The runway is as wide as some are long, though most of it is under weeds and bushes now.

https://www.google.com/maps/search/mans ... a=!3m1!1e3

http://www.skycolors.com/paper_the-airport.htm
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readytotaxi
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Re: Manston Airport to Reopen?

Thu Jul 04, 2019 9:56 am

Remember that BA used Manston with the launch of the A380 6yrs ago.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSflvC9zd2Y
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BlueberryWheats
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Re: Manston Airport to Reopen?

Thu Jul 04, 2019 10:06 am

If I recall correctly, Manston was a designated abort field for the space shuttle, so the runway certainly is large enough for near enough anything.

My only experience of Manston was about 10ish years ago, I had a return flight there from MAN on a Flybe Q400. Horrendously basic airport and seemed constantly windy (maybe due to it's location). The approach was fun, hella gusty. It was novel looking forward at the runway on approach to 28 out of the cabin windows due to the crab angle!
 
mwhcvt
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Re: Manston Airport to Reopen?

Thu Jul 04, 2019 10:07 am

Being a realist I’m going to say it’s not going to happen, I’d love to see who has approved these figures as viable

680,000 passengers a year isn’t a viable operation if you work off your average short haul aircraft and suggest and optimistic 80% load factor that is 12 x 737 sized flights per day if your counting as 680,000 unique pax rather than 340,000 return tickets then your only actually talking 6 movements per day

Who are these operators going to be, short haul you’ve LCC all the main players have existing well established operations at existing London airports that anyone who is outside of the Kent peninsula serve anyone who might be a target pax north of the Thames target pax have LTN, STN and SEN with multiple LCC options south of the Thames is very well served by LGW

as to the cargo, Kent is a rubbish location for cargo into or out of the UK as it leaves too much of the UK to be driven, there’s a reason the dominant cargo hub of the UK is EMA and that is it’s accessible by road from pretty much any part of the UK within a single drivers day
Must think up a new one soon, slow moving brain trying to get into gear ;)
 
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OA260
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Re: Manston Airport to Reopen?

Thu Jul 04, 2019 10:19 am

bennett123 wrote:
They used to have a bus from the centre via the Train station.

More eco friendly than a fleet of taxis.


When was that introduced and stopped? I remember looking at flying in from DUB on EUJet and the downside was no bus service. If they intend to relaunch passenger flights a bus to meet arriving flights and departing flights would be essential.
 
oldannyboy
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Re: Manston Airport to Reopen?

Thu Jul 04, 2019 10:31 am

Guys, have you ever been to Manston? It really is at the end of the world. It takes freakin' forever to get there. It is literally closer to France, than to central London - seriously! It's hard to get to even for a lot of Kent. Gatwick is so much better for say 90% of said county. I'd say that even from Canterbury, on a good traffic day it's quicker to get to Gatters than to Manston! Road infrastructure is very poor around Manston, being stuck literally at the far end of the A299, just above the village of Pegwell (BTW, ever been there? It's LOVELY!). Ramsgate, the bigger town there -again, lovely and quaint- is indeed poorly and expensively connected to London by train, and there is no factual catchment area to speak of besides that-- there are just (mostly?) small villages around it...
For Manston to work you'd either need a FAR bigger catchment area around it, some HUGE tourist attraction (which I am hoping doesn't happen as rural Kent is lovely the way it is) or a spacecraft shuttle connector to London :-)
 
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Goodbye
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Re: Manston Airport to Reopen?

Thu Jul 04, 2019 10:51 am

What are all those lines painted all over the runway?
✈︎
 
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OA260
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Re: Manston Airport to Reopen?

Thu Jul 04, 2019 11:22 am

Goodbye wrote:
What are all those lines painted all over the runway?


Brexit lorry parking IIRC
 
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F737NG
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Re: Manston Airport to Reopen?

Thu Jul 04, 2019 11:43 am

Goodbye wrote:
What are all those lines painted all over the runway?


Since its closure in May 2014, Manston had been earmarked for [...] a possible lorry park during Operation Stack.

Earlier this year the site was tested as a potential lorry park to be used in the event of post-Brexit congestion at the cross-Channel ports.


This is a non-starter of an idea.
As pointed out, 680,000 passengers needs at least 10 daily flights all year-round. Who is going to travel out that far when much more convenient airports exist with a much more extensive range of destinations?

Cargo is also an issue, if you are going to drive it by lorry from Manston to elsewhere in the UK, you might as well take the Eurotunnel or a cross-channel ferry.

It's location was well-suited 75+ years ago, now it's a hindrance.
 
BrianDromey
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Re: Manston Airport to Reopen?

Thu Jul 04, 2019 11:44 am

mwhcvt wrote:
Who are these operators going to be, short haul you’ve LCC all the main players have existing well established operations at existing London airports that anyone who is outside of the Kent peninsula serve anyone who might be a target pax north of the Thames target pax have LTN, STN and SEN with multiple LCC options south of the Thames is very well served by LGW


There are a lot of ifs and buts, but if the UK economy continues steady away or with modest growth there won't be a lot of space for new flights over the next 10 years. LGW, LTN, LHR are full, STN is full at peak-times and even SEN is struggling this summer.
 
Shrewfly
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Re: Manston Airport to Reopen?

Thu Jul 04, 2019 12:07 pm

Does anyone know what sort of condition the infrastructure at Manston is in?

After 5 years without use I'd imagine a lot of overgrown roads, carpark, taxiways and runway, theres probably not a lot in the terminal, and I'd imagine the Tower would be out of service as well. That's before you even think about the cost of ground handling equipment, security, fire coverage etc.

That's a lot of outlay for the new owners before a single flight can even think of landing. It just seems like a lot of money for little return.

So even after all that, let's optimistically say they secure 7x 737/320s a day from low cost airlines, and maybe the odd Flybe or LoganAir. None of those airlines are going to fly there unless landing fees are reduced significantly. So where is the money coming from in return?

Unless they have a major freight operator such as DHL already interested, it's going to be a money pit for a very long time. I just cant see how they're going to make it work.
 
mwhcvt
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Re: Manston Airport to Reopen?

Thu Jul 04, 2019 12:35 pm

BrianDromey wrote:
mwhcvt wrote:
Who are these operators going to be, short haul you’ve LCC all the main players have existing well established operations at existing London airports that anyone who is outside of the Kent peninsula serve anyone who might be a target pax north of the Thames target pax have LTN, STN and SEN with multiple LCC options south of the Thames is very well served by LGW


There are a lot of ifs and buts, but if the UK economy continues steady away or with modest growth there won't be a lot of space for new flights over the next 10 years. LGW, LTN, LHR are full, STN is full at peak-times and even SEN is struggling this summer.


This is true there are capacity issues at most of the London area airports, which is why many of the bigger LCC are bring larger narrow body aircraft into the fleet, to allow them to put in more capacity within the limited slots

Cannot help but believe it will be easier to increase capacity at LTN, STN and SEN than to make Manston viable heck I’d say there were more chance of setting up a terminal and scheduled ops out of FAB
Must think up a new one soon, slow moving brain trying to get into gear ;)
 
skipness1E
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Re: Manston Airport to Reopen?

Thu Jul 04, 2019 12:52 pm

With Heathrow embarking on runway 3, STN capacity won;'t be quite so constrained at even LGW will likely open up a bit.
 
Shrewfly
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Re: Manston Airport to Reopen?

Thu Jul 04, 2019 2:11 pm

mwhcvt wrote:
BrianDromey wrote:
mwhcvt wrote:
Who are these operators going to be, short haul you’ve LCC all the main players have existing well established operations at existing London airports that anyone who is outside of the Kent peninsula serve anyone who might be a target pax north of the Thames target pax have LTN, STN and SEN with multiple LCC options south of the Thames is very well served by LGW


There are a lot of ifs and buts, but if the UK economy continues steady away or with modest growth there won't be a lot of space for new flights over the next 10 years. LGW, LTN, LHR are full, STN is full at peak-times and even SEN is struggling this summer.


This is true there are capacity issues at most of the London area airports, which is why many of the bigger LCC are bring larger narrow body aircraft into the fleet, to allow them to put in more capacity within the limited slots

Cannot help but believe it will be easier to increase capacity at LTN, STN and SEN than to make Manston viable heck I’d say there were more chance of setting up a terminal and scheduled ops out of FAB


Farnborough already has a servicable runway, operational ATC and presumably things like Fire cover, CCTV and security are already in place. I'd say there was much more chance of that happening than Manston seeing a lot of scheduled flying.Has there ever been a plan to use FAB for scheduled service?
 
mwhcvt
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Re: Manston Airport to Reopen?

Thu Jul 04, 2019 4:29 pm

Shrewfly wrote:
mwhcvt wrote:
BrianDromey wrote:

There are a lot of ifs and buts, but if the UK economy continues steady away or with modest growth there won't be a lot of space for new flights over the next 10 years. LGW, LTN, LHR are full, STN is full at peak-times and even SEN is struggling this summer.


This is true there are capacity issues at most of the London area airports, which is why many of the bigger LCC are bring larger narrow body aircraft into the fleet, to allow them to put in more capacity within the limited slots

Cannot help but believe it will be easier to increase capacity at LTN, STN and SEN than to make Manston viable heck I’d say there were more chance of setting up a terminal and scheduled ops out of FAB


Farnborough already has a servicable runway, operational ATC and presumably things like Fire cover, CCTV and security are already in place. I'd say there was much more chance of that happening than Manston seeing a lot of scheduled flying.Has there ever been a plan to use FAB for scheduled service?


FAB almost certainly has all the basics covered as it’s a fairly busy airport for executive travel to London/The South I’m not sure there has ever been regular scheduled ops but it would certainly need much less investment to make it ready than Manston, heck due to the nature of the business it already does it must even have some level of customs/border force presence to check incoming private jets

It’s also worth noting to those mentioning that most the London airports are already operating at or near to capacity, but with the exception of SEN that was already close to the case 5 years ago when it closed
Must think up a new one soon, slow moving brain trying to get into gear ;)
 
fcogafa
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Re: Manston Airport to Reopen?

Thu Jul 04, 2019 5:05 pm

Farnborough would never be used for sceduled traffic, apart from the vociferous locals, the actual runway is quite short due to the surrounding obstructions. Have a look at it on Google Earth.
 
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flyingphil
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Re: Manston Airport to Reopen?

Thu Jul 04, 2019 8:18 pm

In the past Manston seemed to survive on a mix of flight training schools, cargo and charter flights and being a British version of Victorville.. lots of exotic types being stripped of parts or being maintained. It was also the RAF fire training school I recall.

I remember seeing Virgin 747’s doing touch and goes on the long and very wide runway plus Cargo Antonov’s, 707s and DC-8s.
There was the short lived attempt at scheduled services with EU-Jet. The KLM short hop over to Amsterdam did well, so there was some potential for scheduled services.

I assume the new owners have done their homework.

Over the last few years transport links to Manston have improved a bit with the new high speed train from London St Pancras into Ramsgate.. although they would still need a shuttle bus to the airport. Links by road are still not that good.

Maybe the new owners have been looking at the success of Southend which has the advantage of the railway station at the airport. Ryanair, EasyJet and FlyBe seem to be doing well there. Southend has a short runway (shorter than Farnborough) and not much room to expand so is already approaching capacity at peak times.

So we shall see… this saga has been dragging on for a while, the local council are supportive as ‘Planet Thanet’ was quite a deprived area with not many employment opportunities.
It could become another transport hub like Leige with the capacity to take 747s. However, most freight hubs are busiest during the night and they are already ruling out night flights.
 
bennett123
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Re: Manston Airport to Reopen?

Thu Jul 04, 2019 11:23 pm

OA260

This was in March 2014.
 
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readytotaxi
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Re: Manston Airport to Reopen?

Thu Aug 08, 2019 9:21 am

The only arrivals due soon could be 6000 lorries ear marked for the runway in the event of a Brexit cockup.
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peterinlisbon
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Re: Manston Airport to Reopen?

Thu Aug 08, 2019 12:54 pm

It's a wonderful idea to open Manston because London only has 6 airports already.

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