An, arguably valid, opinion by International Airport Review, about what Sir Howard Davies missed in regard to Manston, and other, regional airports in approving Heathrow as a hub airport.
“Does the UK really need a ‘Mega-Hub’ airport?”
“…. the Airports Commission report completely ignored the option of developing any of Britain’s regional airports and concentrates solely on the option for a southern runway at Gatwick and two options at Heathrow.”
The author, Steven Woolgrove Allan, goes on to say about Manston specifically:
“While this airport struggled to attract passenger services when open, it was very popular with freight airlines, having a 9,000 ft runway and not much infrastructure around the area to cause inconvenience to. Also, Manston played a heroic role during the Battle of Britain in 1940 making it a site worth preserving for posterity. Given its lack of development the airport provided an open canvas for the creation of a new airport fully meeting its users expectations, and with a main railway line passing close to the eastern end of the runway, building a station and providing fast service to St Pancras in a little over an hour was a ‘no brainer.’ Tellingly, this project could have been brought to fruition for a fraction of the cost of the third runway at Heathrow, but sadly, Manston was not even considered by the Airports Commission as a possible option”.
He then goes on to query the motives behind the decision.
“Why have those in charge of directing policy completely ignored the needs of the vast majority of UK residents to focus on this ‘prime’ project? Who really stands to gain from the implementation of this proposal, because clearly it’s not the British public, nor the visitors passing through our airports.
So in reality, after forty eight years of political chicanery, the Airports Commission report isn’t so much about meeting the UK’s runway capacity nor its travellers needs; it appears to have much more to do with providing an attractive investment opportunity to principally foreign investors. No need to ask who’ll be footing the bill for this investment long term…
If things we’re not so, then the additional capacity could have been thriftily obtained by developing an existing site, and the ideal option would have been to use the existing Manston airport. After upgrading the road network, inaugurating a rail connection to St. Pancras and building a terminal designed for utility rather than flowing symmetry; the form owing more to the design genius of a Le Corbusier than to Luis Vidal or heaven forbid, George Gilbert Scott.
The total project cost would have been less than £5 billions and would have given this historic site a new lease of life, and the south east its additional runway. Instead, the current owners, having systematically stripped the airport of aviation assets, have plans to break-up the runway and turn the site into another faceless industrial estate. What a loss to the UK’s aviation sector.”
This is exactly what we as campaigners, been saying for well over two years now. We will keep banging the drum until someone sees sense and listens.
Read the full article here: http://www.internationalairportreview.com/25389/airport-extra/uk-mega-hub-airport-heathrow/