Today, 19th March 2016, marks the second anniversary since Ann Gloag announced that she was to close Manston Airport.
This announcement came just four months after she acquired the airport for £1 plus £350,000 working capital. The billionairess who owns Stagecoach, and is somewhat of an expert in transport, said on purchasing Manston…
“Having worked in the transport industry for over 30 years, I believe I am very well-placed to help maximise opportunities for both freight and passengers at Manston. I am delighted to have purchased Manston Airport from Infratil as I believe there is real potential for growth that has not been fully captured.”
These turned out to be hollow words from the wealthy Scot.
There were warning signs about the closure of the airport even before the announcement on 19th March.
Mrs Gloag refused permission, in January 2014, to host a summer Air Show. We also have accounts from ex-employees who have attested that business was being turned away from the airport. All this leaves us in no doubt that the airport was bought for one purpose, and one purpose only, and that was to develop this Battle of Britain Airfield into a small scale garden city.
If Mrs Gloag had run the airport for the two years that she had promised then people would have accepted that she had given it every chance.
But the absence of any perceived effort to do so is why so many thousands of people support this campaign to reopen Manston Airport. The injustice, the corporate greed, the false promises that were made do not sit well with great swathes of local people who feel that they have been cheated out of an important local asset.
Today also marks the day that the campaign was launched to Save Manston and many of the original supporters are still here, still dedicated to saving the airport.
Our thoughts today are also with the 144 or so staff who were given the news, two years ago, that they would be losing their jobs and all the other affected businesses.
We will continue to fight for the reinstatement of Manston Airport and hope that we will hear news from one of the three new investors very shortly.