Sixth Airport For London?
In 2014, the private owner of Manston Airport in Kent decided to close it, and there was talk of the entire area, which was first opened as an RAF station in 1916 and saw service in both the First and Second World Wars, being sold to build housing.
The Royal Air Force withdrew in 1996, and it was run as a commercial airport until its closure, with freight, some passenger and private flights taking place regularly.
Since its closure, it’s been an overflow lorry park for those taking freight between the UK and France. Still, it is now owned by RiverOak Strategic Partners (RSP), which reportedly plans to invest up to £500 million in bringing the runways up to date and to create a new terminal. Government approval has been given for work to recreate this potential sixth London Airport. Still, it seems probable that residents will mount a legal challenge to plans to reopen Manston.
Assuming they fail, it is anticipated that there could be commercial freight services operating by 2028, and it is argued that it is less polluting to fly goods to and from France than to ship the equivalent amount of freight in lorries.
If this works, then the next step will be to try to attract passenger airlines to use Manston, and this will be helped by the fact that earlier this year, Thanet Parkway Station opened to the public and is just three and a half miles away from the airport, so with journey time from London St Pancras just over an hour it should be commercially viable to build a link to the airport itself.