Thanks for all the emails and tweets about the jet that took off from Chas 'n' Dave Margate International Airport at around 3pm this afternoon, despite the Europewide ash ban.
It appears it was a Meridian Airways DC8 cargo flight, empty and bound for Belgium. As Belgium's not far away, it would have been flying well below the volcanic dust, you'd hope. One reader even called the CAA and got the response:
Air movements are not banned, but banned in restricted airspace. If a plane can fly without central air traffic control, ie NATS, and can see clouds coming, off you go, no probs. Areas such as Heathrow, Gatwick etc have restrictions down to the ground, therefore nothing can fly without authority. The CAA have also enforced this on British carriers from everywhere because they can.
A foreign aircraft can therefore land/take off from a pit like Manston because it's effectively cheap, nasty and playing at being a proper airport without ever actually being one. Planes landing at Manston do not need certain type of instruments etc. Just makes you feel safe and cozy inside!
It all rather begs the question, does anyone actually care if one of these crates drops on top of Ramsgate? Or has everyone swallowed KCC leader Paul Carter's crap that 'planes from Manston fly straight out to sea'!?!??!