In support of Manston

The downside of Boris Island includes cost of infrastructure and transport but I’d argue that these are simply investment in the area, a desirable thing.

Loss of wetlands and the problem of birds in the air on the coast are significant negatives.

Unfortunately, that bird problem is also one for Manston and there’s the little matter of Ramsgate. For me, the biggest plus for Manston is that, being that little bit further out of London, there’d be less need to close down Heathrow and indeed, the roles could be reversed – Heathrow for charter flights and Manston for international traffic.

Heathrow needn’t close entirely, that’s the advantage although it would if Boris Island became the plan. If Boris becomes PM, it could well become the plan and I wonder if that’s behind the reshuffle to a small extent?

There are always going to be local objections but being cynical, there’ll be less of them from Ramsgate than under the Heathrow flightpath.

It also seems more “hubbish” than Heathrow or Boris Island would be and could connect with cross-channel quite easily, with high-speed link to the heart of London, let alone easier connects north and south.

The cost would be significantly less and available cash could be put into the local area as a resort or even a new business hub, allowing decentralization from London.

As Wiki put it:

[E]xpansion would: a) reduce the amount of taxpayer support; b) result in less environmental costs; and c) help regenerate this relatively deprived area of Kent.

However Manston is located 65 miles from Central London and the journey time from St Pancras by existing high speed Javelin trains to the nearest rail station at Ramsgate is 1 hour 16 minutes.

This journey time could be reduced to under 50 mins by upgrading the old railway line that makes up part of the route, Ramsgate to Ashford, into a proper High Speed line.

In addition the flight path from its single runway is directly over Ramsgate, a seaside resort of some 40,000 residents.

The latter seems not an issue to me – alter the flight paths. Another good move, in conjunction with leaving the EU is to restrict immigration and the current free Eastern European movement, thereby reducing the traffic and the necessity to expand Manston by a huge amount – maybe one more runway. Heathrow’s and Gatwick’s reduced loads would also see the pressure lifted from them.

Manston obviously likes the idea and the thought of coming back from o/s to Manston with a new [maybe even a tad French] coffeeshop area and maybe even duty free precinct is a nice one, with Ramsgate right there. I used to drive down from the north [9 hours to get to the ferry], I’d go across and then was so knackered I’d stay in Boulogne. If there was a lovely, driver-friendly, non-rip-off space this side of the channel, I’d always stay there and go over by ferry next day.

With the three airports sharing the load and with the cost of the highspeed link fare to/from London reduced to manageable proportions, e.g. a fiver, then it would seem to be a goer.

Quite like the Steadmanian splattering bird logo too:

Here’s a flight coming in to land even as you read:

Might I suggest that if Manston doesn’t go through but Boris Island does, the airport could be named the Richard Montgomery International Airport with the tagline “explosive new development”?

14 comments for “In support of Manston

  1. September 6, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    “I’d argue that these are simply investment in the area, a desirable thing”

    Well if a person or entity wants to voluntarily invest and they can make a return in excess of costs ~ fine. Putting a gun to my head (i.e. tax) and demanding money for Boris’s pet project is not in any sense desirable.

    Like it or not, a bit more concrete at Heathrow is by far the cheapest and easiest option. After lots of dithering, this will probably happen, albeit far, far later then is required to optimise air transport.

    “Loss of wetlands and the problem of birds in the air on the coast are significant negatives”

    In your opinion, not one I share.

    • September 6, 2012 at 9:18 pm

      You don’t share the view that birds are a problem, SAofT? Try this from Ivan:

      Who in their right minds puts an airport where it is subject to sea fogs and the consequent need to divert flights. There is also the big problem of birds. All hell would break loose when the first Boeing or Airbus crashes because the engines ingested several gulls.

      • September 7, 2012 at 2:50 am

        Sorry I misread. I thought you meant the loss of birds was the issue.

  2. Dave_G
    September 6, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    Frankly I don’t know why they don’t build a double-deck runway at Heathrow. It’s as sensible as any other suggestion.

  3. David A. Evans
    September 6, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    Why not just expand one or two regional airports to cover more international flights?

    I would suggest that a fair proportion of the flights into and out of Heathrow are from regional airports to connect to international.


    • September 6, 2012 at 8:16 pm

      Manston is regional, David.

      • David A. Evans
        September 7, 2012 at 10:23 am

        I see it’s quite close to Newcastle & Edinburgh.

  4. Mudplugger
    September 6, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    Discounting Scotland (which wants to leave), England & Wales is a very small place. It is idiotic to focus all major international air-travel through a single hub in its most congested corner, even spread across 2 or 3 nearby patches of concrete.

    Far better to allocate different areas of the world to different ‘mini-hubs’ at regional airports. For example, Birmingham could take most South American flights, Manchester taking Asian flights, Gatwick taking Australasia, Heathrow taking North America, Newcastle taking Northern Europe/Russia etc.

    Shuttle flights and, later, fast train-links would provide transit services.

    This also aligns with the latest developments in aircraft, such as the Boeing Dreamliner, which recognises that monsters like the A380 are not the way to go – people want to fly from where they are to where they want to be, not being forced always to divert via two monster hubs.

    This would not only eliminate the mad, congested one-hub approach, it would also resolve its glaring (and proven) exposure to risk of weather, strikes, terrorism etc., bringing automatic contingency into the network. Furthermore, it would spread the implied air-travel ‘wealth-trickle-down’ across the nation, rather than keeping it all in the over-hyped South East.

    But such common sense will never happen, the politicos and the money-men are all in the South East.

  5. September 6, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    The most nerveracking flights I’ve had were all over Heathrow upon landing – there are just way too many people there, it’s a dog to get to and the idea of doubling that trouble is insanity.

    Can’t see any reason not to have regional hubs and Manston can be one. Dave seems set on the 3rd runway though.

  6. September 6, 2012 at 11:08 pm

    To replace Heathrow, you will need a contiguous area of about six square miles in an approximate rectangular space. Nine to allow for expansion. Cliffe looks ideal. Close to links with HS1 and the M20. You could even spur a coastal line into London from there.

    As for the seabirds thing, Vancouver Airport is built right on the coast and birdstrikes don’t mess much with air traffic. Maybe you’ve just got the wrong kind of birds.

  7. Greg Tingey
    September 7, 2012 at 8:10 am

    It’s GEESE you have to worry about – they are quite large ….

    There was a proposal, way back in the day, not to develop what became Theifrow (ghastly hole) but …
    Blackbushe, near Basingstoke.
    Located on acid-soiled, agriculturally-useless heathland, with low surrounding population.
    Modern high(ish) speed rail links to both Paddington/Crossrail & Waterloo.
    Why not revive this idea?

    Come to that, there is already a big airfield at Farnborough, isn’t there?

    Manston is simply too small, on the top of its’ hill, more’s the pity …..

  8. September 7, 2012 at 8:32 am

    Bill, I think the Kent wetlands probably do have a substantially different bird population from Vancouver, where trees would deter the bigger migrants and (at least in my experience) all the local seagulls are on the scrounge at Granville Island.

    Kent may be handy for the Continent (insert joke of choice here) but I can’t see it appealing to anyone who has to negotiate 50% of the M25 in time to catch a flight. I’ve been wondering whether the Heathrow expansion plan, ‘still on the table,’ according to Osborne, could be a government-sponsored stalking horse for something already secretly in the pipeline.

    There’s a report due in a few weeks on a proposed new airport between the M1 and the M40. It may be coincidence, but both Bicester and Aylesbury, the nearest towns to the two potential sites, are currently being increased in size by massive developments including a new railway station, while the Bicester Village designer shopping outlet is being heavily promoted abroad and is about to undergo further expansion.

    There’s also the small matter of HS2, which will pass within spitting distance (and boy, are the locals spitting about it too!). I wouldn’t be at all surprised if, after all the wrangling going on at present, someone were to produce Aylesbury/Bicester out of a hat as a compromise candidate.

  9. cuffleyburgers
    September 7, 2012 at 9:09 am

    My view is Boris island by far the least bad solution.

    Expanding Heathrow would be absolute insanity.

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