Thursday, September 11, 2008

Manston Firm Nosedives

Yikes! It seems that Seguro Holidays, which operated out of RAF London Kent Ramsgate Manston International Airport as Kent Escapes, has crashed and burned leaving 2,500 British holidaymakers stranded abroad.

The company are blaming their collapse on the failure of Futura, a Spanish airline which operated four fifths of its flights. Futura has in turn blamed high fuel prices for its insolvency. A notice on the Seguro website says: 'The directors of the company deeply regret the closure of the business.'

It rather begs the question of how our beloved council can continue to justify putting the existence of the airport as the top priority in their current corporate plan. Instead of creating jobs, it must now surely be heading for negative equity, especially as airlines are currently dropping like flies (51 have gone tits up so far this year). And given that it confirms the Uranians' cock-eyed view of how to run the local economy, the news must surely cast even more doubt on their JOBS! justification for China Gateway!

Click here to go to Seguro website
Click here to read story on BBC News website


Sean Furey said...

You should see the job creation hopes that Shepway Council are placing on Lydd Airport. At least Manston is vaguely near somewhere and not right next to say, a nuclear power station, an MOD firing range and one of the RSPB's flagship bird-reserves.

That said, Manston is near lots of people who no doubt wait eagerly for each training 747 to roar over their house.

It's also interesting to note that Paul Carter continues to use Manston as barge pole to fend off Boris Johnson's plans for Cliffe Airport. So well done, Thanet, you're taking one for the team....

anonymous (via email) said...

For years, the great and the good (who repair televisions and sell carpets for a living) have told us that Manston will deliver economic salvation to the Isle. Doubters were ridiculed and pilloried. Environmental concerns were swamped by a veritable tsunami of the brown smelly stuff. "Jobs, jobs, jobs" they shouted. (Is it coincidence that I hear similarly bogus claims for China Gateway?). The Isle of Thanet Gazette actually ran a front-page story about the 10,000 jobs which the airport would create. Their source was none other than Trevor Herron, TDC's Director of Planning, who had never created a job in his life. How could it fail to create jobs? we were asked. Well it has failed to generate jobs, but it's worse than that. Whilst Manston has been sitting there, occupying a key block of brownfield land, plans have been advanced for all manner of development on greenfield sites across the Isle. Chinagate is to go on open fields and so is "Little China Village" that is being built to house the migrant workers they will bring in to work there. All of this being justified on the back of a cruddy airport.

When Manston was originally sold to the private sector I remember a chap from Friends of the Earth, who was their airports spokesperson, and who came down to visit us and speak at some public meetings. I took him for a tour around the airport and he made a comment that I remember to this day. He said: "It's not just that airports generate massive amounts of pollution; it's the unpalatable, grubby little businesses that spring up around them." He was suggesting that airports can actually have a negative effect on the economy because clean, high-tech outfits don't want to share space on a business park with the guy who's importing monkeys for medical experiments. The comments ring more true today with the plans for Chinagate.

Basically, Thanet's leaders have been selling us down the river for years by courting dodgy developers and third-rate businesses. In so doing, they have tarnished the image of the area and inhibited economic growth by deterring better companies from investing. If you don't believe me ask why everyone else and his dog has business parks full of thriving businesses. Meanwhile, the people of Thanet have been given bonfires, Dizengorffe, bonfires, Godden, bonfires, Wiggins, Planestation, bonfires, SPD,Infratil, bonfires Chinagate.... Time, I think, to sweep the halls of power and replace them with people who have the courage to say "NO".

Manston has been a failure as a commercial airport. In the current economic climate it seems unlikely to succeed. When the Council drew up the local plan I submitted comments. In particular, I suggested that the airport might not succeed and I asked what was plan B. The council ignored this question, as did the planning inspectors who oversaw the Public Inquiry. They cannot now argue that this situation was not something that could not have been foreseen. I foresaw it and I suggested that they plan for it. On the other hand, why would we allow people who have led us down this blind alley to show us the way out? Those in office and those in the press who have blindly backed the airport should concede their gross error of judgement and resign. I appreciate that this would include every single Councillor, but if they are all too stupid to listen to reason we aren't losing much.

Anonymous said...

Not an auspicious date for talking about airlines nosediving ECR.

Anonymous said...

Two days ago week looked at Kent Escapes for a half term break in the sun.
The travel agent even started phoning us at home to try and get us to sign up on the back of having requested some general information, did they know something we didn't ?.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1.50...Why not, the TV &newspapers are.

steve said...

Does anyone think the airport masterplan promised by paul carter, Infratil and TDC will still come out this year?

Quote from Paul Carter, Kent County Council Leader on his own blog, July 2008 after a visit to the Airport.

"Matt Clarke, chief executive of Kent International Airport gave an update on its work to attract more airlines to operate out of the airport. You can already fly to around a dozen destinations, without the hassle and time it takes to get to and through Stansted, Heathrow and Gatwick.

The airport is a unique opportunity to provide quality jobs for local people and bring outside investment into Thanet. Matt has ambitions to grow the airport to 10 million passengers, about half of the capacity of Stansted. We are jointly lobbying for this additional capacity as part of the growth of the London airport."

This place is an unmitigated failure, yet kent councillors and MP's back the poxy thing like its bringing world peace.


Anonymous said...

As China Gate is being built beside the airport, we must assume ( I'm taking one hell of a risk I know! ) that the airport beside them is part of their plans! That all the things that are going into these warehouses will be transported into the country by air?

It could not possibly be true ( really, I mean this ) that instead, the stuff will be brought in by boat to Dover!

This is so absurd it could only happen in Thanet, and be sanctioned by the complicit members of this council.

Anonymous said...

ING ( a proper established international company as opposed to the 'posers' called CGP who are chancers on borrowed money) is working with Chinamex and Schipol Airport as the North European hub for imports. Why should they fly into Manston? Container lorries by the thousand is the most likely effect from ports. Why fly when its cheaper to import via sea?

Anonymous said...

And another airline has gone bust overnight so Manston's prosperity is even more unlikely.

CGP has talked about using Dover and Ramsgate but neither is a container port so it's nonsense to consider all the goods the Chinese want at Manston coming in this way. Everything will be brought from Felixstowe or Thamesport by road along our congested roads then offloaded before being transported out again by road.
Only high-value, low volume goods will come by air.

cloth ears said...

Because of different date formatting, we won't be celebrating that until November 9th, anon of 1-50pm.

Anonymous said...

Air travel is over. We must think about not jetting off to other countries for holidays. It is finished. I intend to holiday in the UK from now on. Anyone who lives in the real world must do the same. The demand for domestic holidays will rocket. manston shoul be made into some sort of leisure facility. Water park, wildlife areas, woodland with lodges.

pretentious pilot said...

You don't have your hippy ideals firmly lodged up your backside at all, do you 8:31?

Anonymous said...

I agree. Don't walk on the crass, spout it!

Anonymous said...

I heard Radio Kent yesterday morning. They had an "Old Dear" whose flights from Manston had been cancelled. She was very upset but she then wittered on about about how much she supported the airport because of all the jobs it created and how she would use it in the future. This is how badly the punters have been brainwashed by brain-dead councillors and the all-but-useless local press. Statistically, there would seem to be a high chance that the airline you fly with from Manston will go bust, stranding you abroad.

As for 10 million passengers per year, Paul Carter must live on the planet Zog (at our expense). Not only does the catchment area not support anything like that number of flights, the environmental damage would be catastrophic. Why are elected people allowed to say that they are lobbying for something on our behalf, when they haven't asked us whether we want it, and haven't performed even the most rudimentary of feasibility studies to determine whether it is realistic and of any benefit whatsoever, economically or environmentally? At what point do we conclude that they are following some other agenda that has nothing to do with what is best for us?

Tony said...

Steve & Co., I was under the impression it's the airlines themselves that are in financial difficulties, not the airports. I don't hear people blaming Gatwick for the demise of XL airlines, so why put the troubles of Kent Escapes and Seguro on Manston?

Anonymous said...

No-one is blaming the airport for the demise of the company. What people are concerned about is the great jobs myth the airport supporters have spread around for years. Having lived here for many years I've heard it all before. We accepted the RAF were there for decades as part of our frontline defences so tolerated the noise. Since the RAF left there have been start-up airlines come and go. Kent Escapes is just the latest but are victims of the hike in fuel prices as it's the airline that gone bust and this is a knock-on effect.

steve said...

Tony, Kent Escapes/XL/Silverjet/Eos have heaped their troubles on Manston themselves.

By selling travel too cheaply (and in Manstons case, from an aiport too few people want to travel from) they have committed a cardinal business sin - not turning a profit, sorry, not even covering their costs.

I'm sure its not escaped your attention that airports need one thing to stop them becoming a very lovely long empty pieces of tarmac - planes.

Tell me - what use is 2,752m of tarmac that used to be an airbase, that has attempted to be an airport, and is currently used by about 50 passenger jets a year, and maybe double that in freight?

Thats a lost of space for not a lot of business. And getting less sustainable by Infratil by the week.

steve said...

10:15am. Paul Carter will beleive anything you tell him if you start the meeting "this wil create thousands of jobs for the people of Kent"

Anonymous said...

A lot of out dated hot air. I'd rather have my head up my arse than firmly lodged in the sand.
This thread highlights what makes Thanet great...not.

Anonymous said...

So, how long will Infratil give it before they cover it in housing; and can the Council do anything to stop them when they haven't made any form of contingency plan for the airport failing?

JT said...

I have posted this on the "saynotochinagate" forum and post it here in case they delete it:

Can you people not see that Thanet is dying? It desperately needs an ecomonic boost yet we have people like you trying to prevent this happening!! I bet 90% of you were not even born in Thanet and sold your house in London to retire here. Do you seriously think that you can compare Thanet to Brighton and believe Thanet can once again attract the level of tourism to support the local economy? You need to wake up and smell the coffee!!

When was the last time you drove along Northdown Road or Margate High Street? You should take a drive down there and see for your own eyes the visible decay instead of relying on Waitrose's home delivery service.

Take a look on the Internet at the amount of posts from people who have visited Thanet to rekindle childhood memories of family holidays and how dumbstruck they are at the change. Look at the Lido in Cliftonville, the difference from it's heydays of the 50's, 60's and 70's. The only way that Thanet could heal itself through tourism would be to become a Blackpool of the South or gambling centre through the establishment of casinos. I think this would be great for Thanet and breathe fresh life into this terminally ill locality and I am sure I am not alone.

If you continue to hold Thanet back you will find that one day you will have to visit the local Waitrose yourself as there will be no deliver drivers available. Can you face up to the prospect of doing your own gardening? Perhaps you relish the thought of your tranquil village hidden from the rest of England by a cabbage field forest as there will be no labour to harvest the cabbages that surround your hamlet. Cabbage Island, as it is known to many, has to adapt or die whether you accept this or not.