Jet traffic jam – a view on Manston by a Airliner Pilot

A view published in the Telegraph today by someone with first-hand knowledge of the issue with airport capacity in the South East, and positive comments about Manston:

Jet traffic jam

SIR – Governments of all colours have shown cowardice on an epic scale over airport policy, ignoring both economic and safety considerations.

As a pilot of a jet airliner, I know that London’s airspace is operating at capacity. Each day I enter the holding pattern south of Gatwick, then hear on the radio that those going to Heathrow are subject to delays two or three times as long. When I make an approach, it is likely that, due to departing traffic, I won’t get cleared to land until I am about half a mile away from the runway. It is likely that we will be told to abort the landing at less than 300ft if the departing traffic is slow to move.

New runways are needed at both Heathrow and Gatwick, but these won’t solve the capacity problem if an incident happens. After receiving permission to build, Heathrow and Gatwick should share the cost of reopening and maintaining Manston airport in Kent. With its massive runway, it is the ideal place to send aircraft in trouble (be it a technical problem or terrorism) to keep them from built-up areas of the South East.

This move would not only be in the wider public interest but would also help the economy of east Kent.

Keith Jones
Hinton, Wiltshire


Main image:By Eluveitie (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

12 thoughts on “Jet traffic jam – a view on Manston by a Airliner Pilot

  • October 7, 2016 at 2:57 pm

    What a brilliant and fresh approach.

    Build all three.


  • October 7, 2016 at 9:08 pm

    Many thanks to that pilot for support of Manston Airport. Hope leader of Thanet District Council reads this.

    • October 8, 2016 at 11:57 am

      never mind the council its the government need to read this thoses that sit in there ivory towers and when something go’s wrong its not my department but keep the faith thank god for Sir Roger Gale

  • October 8, 2016 at 6:01 pm

    Strangely I posted a letter on Friday to our new PM explaining why Manston should be reopened. I am hoping that, as she is obviously reluctant to approve the third runway at Heathrow, she will take notice.
    Pilot for 40 Years.

  • October 8, 2016 at 9:00 pm

    You should also ask Reaction Engines Ltd. to consider Manston as a development site for their Sabre engine and spaceplane

  • October 11, 2016 at 5:23 am

    I was employed by a major airline at Heathrow for ten years. Quite soon after the hemmed in central location of the terminals was established there it was obvious that growth would outstrip Heathrow”s ability to keep pace with the visionary enlargements taking place at competing airports on Continent. There was simply
    too little space to expand for future needs. Over the years successive government administrations on the left and right have lacked the vision and resolve to make funds available to get started on a suitable alternative. It is now a pressing need
    for the growth of the economy as we look to the future. France, Germany and
    Holland foresaw that a large expanse of land would soon be needed for airport
    expansion and made the difficult and expensive decision to do something about
    relocating or greatly enlarging their capital city airports and it is now paying off.
    Britain meanwhile has continued to procrastinate by makeshift minor changes
    at Heathrow. A third runway there will not be enough by the time it finally opens
    and where is land available for a fourth runway! Manston already exists and is the obvious alternative site for a major airport development in the southeast to take over from Heathrow when it reaches saturation point. Whenever this happens anywhere it is naturally an expensive national project and it is surely time to set aside any further short sighted upgrades to Heathrow or Gatwick. It is time for
    an imaginative policy to ensure that such a major hub for civil aviation as London
    will not be choked to death by indecision any longer. The land available at Manston will not be there for ever but it could be the last chance for London and the southeast to get the 21st Century airport it has long deserved. It will serve it much longer into the future than LHR or LGW hemmed in on all sides by development which must be demolished at great expense to provide enough space for future needs.As rhe move to Manston increases more land can be released in the more
    densely populated areas around LHR and LGW for mu h needed housing. No
    more procrastication please, the clock is ticking, Manston airport is already there.
    Rather than become a political football it could be turned into a civil aviation magnet and a national icon as Heathrow once was. An airport we could all be
    proud of when our skilled architects and construction engineers get to work
    on it just like they have built other world class airports arounf the globe. How
    about a brand new 21st Century airport with high speed rail connections or
    monorail links for the UK now? Many of us doubted that Eurostar would catch
    the imagination or be as successful as it is. Its time for something on a similar scale… a brand new airport for the southeast. The site at Manston is a solution
    so what are we waiting for!!!

    • October 14, 2016 at 11:16 am

      Don’t bother I have sent I don’t know how many emails to the Prime Minister but she never receives any it always goes to some department that don’t know were Manston is if you want the Prime Minister to read your comment send it by post
      Mr Busby

    • October 22, 2016 at 9:20 am

      Do the Goverment know how much it would cost if we loose Manston Airport to greedy house building more than Gatwick or Heathrow runways the lose of the second longest runway ÷ more schools hospitals roads water gas electric and no income open the Airport you get more income to the Country more work and takes the pressure off Heathrow and Gatwick
      Mr Busby

  • October 12, 2016 at 7:02 pm

    In this area of Kent, it is a high unemployment area, this is just what we need, bring it on.

  • October 13, 2016 at 11:37 am

    As Mr Busby rightly says – and Mr Montgomerie pre-empted – it’s getting at least one of the top echelon people in government to rediscover Manston (strangely, the logic of considering it has fled them).

    When will the notion of offsetting Heathrow/Gatwick air traffic by the likes of this already standing international airport-by-the-sea begin to stare these people first in the face, then creep into their brains? What does it take for this process to begin?

    Let us all begin now at least to do what Mr Montgomerie did. If he would kindly give us the best address for this, this would serve us well.

    It would be great if the writer Frederick Forsyth, former AirForce pilot – who writes for the Daily Express too and is in favour of Manston – would take up bigger and more regular arms for it, writing ongoing articles to support its re-opening, inviting people of all ilks to join him.

    His words might well cause the right sort of action needed.

    Forsomething has to budge…in the right way. A(nother?) petition so it has to get discussed by Parliament? If Manston disappears, a horrendous loss to the nation will have occurred. (And no one is blamed, once again). The potential for all will have been blighted in one foul swoop. And Britain’s councillors/politicians
    will have let the nation down again on something which was so obvious to so many ‘ordinary’ and not-so ordinary folk. Let us not allow it to happen…For Mercy’s sake (whoever Mercy is).

  • October 13, 2016 at 5:41 pm

    An excellent email from James Stanisland. He has described the situation, as I did to the Prime Minister, but in much greater detail. He should forward a copy to her, if he has not already.

  • October 13, 2016 at 5:47 pm

    I must apologise to James for mistakenly putting an s in his name. Anyone wishing to write to the PM should address it to The Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury, 10 Downing Street London SW1A

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