The local grapevine appears to be working overtime today, with all the excitement centering around a ridiculous rumour that Bee Gee lookalike Sir Richard Branson is investing in Chas 'n' Dave Margate International Airport!
But before you start packing those £9.99 YSL suiters you bought down the market and planning that dream holiday to Benidorm, let's look at the facts. Yes, it has been suggested that some part of Virgin is buying up land out at Manston, including the disused petrol station opposite the Holiday Inn Express (Prospect Inn in old money). But this could be something to do with the odd Virgin flight that already comes into the airport for maintenance or what have you, rather than a masterplan for scheduled flights.
If you really want to fly a kite, it's probably more likely that we're about to get Virgin Galactic's first European spaceport. The sods have just been dug on their US site out in New Mexico, and already 300 sillier sods have forked out $200,000 each to be propelled into space for ten minutes inside a giant firecracker. Branson, who last week got a £200m injection from Manchester City's Sheik Whatsit, has already stated he wants another spaceport in Europe by 2013, although so far the three front runners are in Scotland. Admittedly remotest Jockland would be a safer option from the 'Challenger scenario' point of view, but Manston's oh-so-much closer to London's bustling West End, darling.
Given the parlous state of our airport's finances, and given Sir Branston's hairy upper lip service to environmental issues, this might be the best possible outcome for Chas 'n' Dave Margate International Airport. Lord knows, Branners might install a proper radar system that allows his fireworks to bypass the towns. He might even monitor the noise and air pollution. He might build a spanking new visitor centre and attract tourism to the area.
But I'll bet my dollar bottom that the only Thanetians who'll be able to afford the tickets will be the usual squillionaire suspects!
Blast your arse into space for $200,000