Thursday, June 25, 2009

Night Flights? No Thanks!

I’m not one of those lentil-munching, boggle-eyed green types who go around in their hand-loomed, organic hemp undercrackers protesting against anything with an exhaust pipe. But I do take offence at the Cecil Square duffers paving the way for Manston's Kiwi owners to fly crappy old freight planes over my bonce every hour of the day or night.

Tomorrow night Paul Carter, that ruddy-faced Tory who heads up Kent County Council, will be over at Chas 'n' Dave Margate International Airport, meeting the airport consultative committee. This is the man who thinks planes from Manston 'fly straight out over the sea'. For the head of Kent County Council he shows a woeful ignorance of his county's geography, and Ramsgate's position therein. He's also fond of saying Manston has the lonegest runway in the UK. Wrong again, beetroot head! It's the 14th longest.

Now, this is going to be a public meeting and it'll be well worth attending, if only to witness the hypocrisy of airport-loving Bignews Tony bowling girlie underarms to a man that he bodylines most days. But the main thing is, if you don't want gaffer-taped old Ghanaian 747s full of rotting bananas stuffed with hookie ciggies blasting the tiles off your roof at 3am as they creak and groan their way into what could well be their final resting place, get along to the meeting and make your views known. It's at 7pm tomorrow (Friday) evening, in the airport departure lounge.

And to all those (three or maybe four) people who think flying planes at night over a Victorian seaside town with more listed buildings than Bath is a really, really good idea, I have this to say. 95 people have so far signed the petition against night flights. But before you crap on about how miniscule you think that number is, do take a look at the Downing Street website. There you'll find a petition imploring Our Gordon Master to expand the airport, created by one Connor Gower. Connor, it would appear, is in Year 9 at Sir Roger Manwood's school in Sandwich. His petition ran for six months. Six months in which all the hundreds of thousands of people who supposedly support an expanded airport could have stopped being the joystick jockeys' 'silent majority' and put their hand up to be counted. And how many signatures did Connor collect?

Eight. Including his own.

Sign the petition against night flights
Only eight people voted for Manston expansion
Manston expansionist competes in schools maths competition
Bignews Margate blasts KCC redhead


Anonymous said...

At Gatwick there were hardly any night flights, the very late flights were usually an occasional 727 from Paris, Berlin, Gothenberg, Amsterdam and the long hauls used to start coming in from about 5 a.m. The Lagos flight from Nigeria always seemed to be one of the first in. My point is why would there be night flights at manston when there are hardly any at one of the busiest international airports in the world? I think you worry too much.

Eastcliff Richard said...

But night flights are currently banned at Manston. Why hand them the thick end of the wedge on a plate, if I may mix my metaphors?

tony flaig bignews said...

How about a sense of proportion, Ecr read the above.

Smeg witters on about hundreds of flights a day? this ain't ever going to happen

I don't recall any wild eyed ramsgatonians carping on about EU jet, since they were hardly noticeable.

That petition now has 96 sigs one more after the Bignews oxygen of publicity.

tony flaig bignews said...

Blimey I thought I was the only cretin posting at this time of night

tony flaig bignews said...

How about some show biz anecdotes about Jacko

Eastcliff Richard said...

Never met the bloke. Saw him in concert at Wembley once. Shame, he was a real talent.

tony flaig bignews said...

Me too

Eastcliff Richard said...

What, a real talent????

Lucy Mail said...

When it comes to getting it wrong, some people seem to have a natural talent, so no argument there!

I'm afraid I'm going to have to correct you about those African planes being held together with Gaffa tape, Dickie dear. Overhearing a conversation in a pub which shall remain nameless (just along the road from Churchills), where several of these plane's maintenance team congregate, just a couple of days ago, one of them was demonstrating how temporary repairs were undertaken to limp these planes back to base.
The tape that they use is actually a strong aluminium alloy, very sticky and very expensive. One of them actually had a roll of it with him.
Hope he wasn't walking home through 'King Street!

Stop Manston Expansion Group said...

tony, if you work out the flights to the proposed number of passengers by kcc, tdc and infratil, you come to a couple of hundred flights per day.

Busy periods, such as holiday seasons, monday mornings, Friday evenings, Saturdays will undoubtedly by busier than other days- some days hundreds, some days not.

The objective of infratil is to get as near as possible to that figure. The maximum operating profit of the airport us reached at full capacity- 24/7 openings, flights every few minutes. If the rules don't allow this, they will always push for more.

If you put restrictions on the airport, such as night flight bans, strict flight paths over open areas, this makes their attractiveness to airlines diminish.

There will always be restrictions. Night flights will not be allowed. Proximity to ramsgate will always be an issue they cannot avoid. Infratil could not afford blight payments if manston got as busy as prestwick, for example.

This makes the business unsustainable. Infratil know it, tdc know it, kcc know it, but they continue to talk up the assets so they get top dollar when the sale comes.

The airport will never be a commercial success, bit while it remains as an airport it will continue to blight east kent. Everyone should be honest about it so the whole area can move on.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you can ask Paul Carter while he's here how he justifies the 8% increase in expenses which he awarded himself last night.

Stop Manston Expansion Group said...

Oh don't worry. I will.

At least Thanet district council had the decency to lie when they gave their executives a 25k pay rise and told us it was a 0% rise.

This guy was in charge when £50,000,000 of our money was placed into a failing banking system. Not one penny has made it home safely.

Who voted for this party?

Anonymous said...

Paul Carter didn't attend tonight's meeting due to a 're-arranged family event'. The Chair, Paul Twyman, was not impressed and got a vote passed agreeing to report him to Standards as the date had been chosen to accommodate Cllr. Carter.

Perhaps Cllr. Carter was worried he might be taken to task over the 8% allowance increase his party voted through.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that during Matt Clarke's presentation the slide with the number of jobs flipped to the next one before anyone had chance to total the number of people employed there.

Anonymous said...

Manston has seven flights a week at the moment plus the training ones and some light aircraft movements, positioning flights etc. Six actual flights bringing in stuff from Africa then the empty planes fly out + the Jersey holiday one.

steve @ smeg said...

82 jobs. Counted them quickly.

Less than the 150 mentioned in the bawc tender. Less than the 'about 100' in the masterplan. Less than the 85 in the night flights begging letter.

steve @ smeg said...

Oh, and if you want to see the back of the freight flights, 80 percent of them are flying foodstuffs from africa (aren't people starving there?)

Read the labels before you buy your tomatoes and other fruits and salad locally and seasonably

Anonymous said...

"But night flights are currently banned at Manston."

Sadly ECR, this isn't true. The Section 106 document is a slippery beast, full of caveats and cop-outs. Night-flights are permitted and some aircraft (very few) attract fines. If Infratil wanted to start flying at night they could do so tomorrow and TDC would have to take out an injunction to stop them. Since TDC isn't going to do this, there is no effective restriction on night-flights. So why all the fuss? The answer is that they only have 7 freight flights and one passenger flight per week. All the rest of it is nonsense. They are losing money hand-over-fist and they don't know when, or if, they might break-even. Infratil is preparing the ground for closure. I predict that they'll say that they couldn't operate economically without unlimited, 24/7 access and that TDC wouldn't co-operate.

Anonymous said...

Matt Clarke said the airport wasn't covering its fixed costs and no firm can survive on that basis. Sooner or later bills don't get paid and there's a rapid downward spiral. Those 82 people (he did say there were others including himself in some office jobs) must get paid, utilities need paying etc.

This is the way the company will pressurise TDC into granting everything they want using the 'jobs will have to go' line.