Thanet Lib Dems Speak Out About Avia Report

Press Release by Liberal Democrats:

Thanet Lib Dems Say that Manston Airport Report is Narrow and Blinkered

The recently released viability report on Manston Airport by Avia Consulting, commissioned by UKIP-led Thanet Council, completely ignores several potential revenue streams in its calculations.

The Thanet Liberal Democrats are therefore calling for a public meeting to allow for questions and challenges to be aired.

Specifically:

1. Why were significant potential aviation-related revenue streams not considered such as Aircraft Salvage?
Footnote 1 of the report states: The scope of this report does not extend to a consideration of other uses for the airport (other than passenger and cargo), and Avia Solutions is therefore not able to comment on the reasonableness or otherwise of the alternative use proposals.
Why Not?

2. Avia Consulting has strong credentials with regards to the operation of commercial airports focused on passenger traffic, not Aviation support services (see 1. above). So why were they chosen to do this important report?

3. Whilst stating that financial models are focused on ‘upper bounds’ of predicted traffic, this is misleading without considering other sources of income, i.e. Aircraft Maintenance.

4. The report assumes that a third runway will be built at Heathrow Airport – this is a significant assumption and could lead to a massive under-capacity issue if there were delays and challenges to the scheme. Manston is good to go now.

We disagree with the conclusion that Manston Airport cannot be financially viable, and fully support any commercial venture that is willing to stake money and reputation to realise a high-tech, high -skilled jobs future for Manston Airport.

The Thanet Liberal Democrats call for consideration of the following uses for Manston Airport as an Aviation Ancillary Services Hub within any viability calculations:

1. Cargo/Freight handling;
2. Aircraft salvage and recycling;
3. Aircraft Maintenance;
4. Aviation Training (i.e. ATC, Engineering, Cabin Crew, Aviation Firefighting, Ground Handling);
5. Establishment of a New Aviation College for apprentices;
6. Development as a new ‘Space Port’ to support existing Government scheme;
7. Private flying training and recreation;
8. An Expanded Battle of Britain Heritage Museum and tourist attractions;
9. A Specialist Europe Emergency facility for Aircraft crisis events;
10. A Specialist Europe Emergency facility for Humanitarian response flights;
11. Ship Emergency, SAR and Ship firefighting cover for the Channel Straits.

This report is simply “too narrow and blinkered” comments Thanet Liberal Democrat Spokesperson, Russ Timpson. “This issue must be properly addressed at Government level, and fast,” he concludes.

Russ Timpson
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Thanet