RiverOak Strategic Partners





RiverOak Strategic Partners

Flights in and out of Manston

Published on July 29th, 2020

Even when operating at its future peak (circa twenty years after reopening), Manston Airport will average no more than five large aircraft movements per hour – and will not operate any scheduled services overnight.

The Development Consent Order granted by the Secretary of State for Transport restricts RSP from exceeding an average of just under three cargo movements per hour and, eventually – once passenger services return to the airport –  an average of just under two passenger aircraft an hour. Even General Aviation, which includes small business aircraft, Search & Rescue, air ambulance and pleasure/pilot training flights, will be restricted to an average of six movements an hour.

Requirement 21 in the DCO also specifies the restrictions on hours in which the airport can operate – with no flights at all permitted between 23.00 and 06.00 and limitations on which services can operate during the daytime too:

21.—(1) The operation of the airport is subject to— (a) a total annual cargo air transport movement limit of 17,170; (b) a total annual passenger air transport movement limit of 9,298; and  (c) a total annual general aviation movement limit of 38,000.

(2) No aircraft is to take-off or be scheduled to land between the hours of 23:00 and 06:00.

(3) No passenger air transport departures are to take place between the hours of 09:00 and 11:30. There must only be one passenger air transport departure between the hours of 11:30 and 11:44 and one passenger air transport departure between the hours of 11:45 and 12:00. There must only be one scheduled passenger air transport arrival between the hours of 07:00 and 08:00.

(4) No passenger air transport departures are to take place between the hours of 20:00 and 21:00. There must only be one passenger air transport arrival between the hours of 16:00 and 17:00; only two passenger air transport departures between the hours of 1800 and 19:00; and only one passenger air transport departure between the hours of 19:00 and 20:00.

These restrictions, which RSP agreed to when consulted by the Government and was pleased to see confirmed, mean that it can operate the airport with minimal impact on local communities in Thanet and East Kent.

RSP Director Tony Freudmann said: “Our aim is to be a responsible neighbour, one which provides jobs and opportunities, but is also mindful of the impact of its operations. We completely understand that there will be people who are concerned about the reintroduction of aircraft flying to and from Manston. That is to be expected, but be assured that the numbers are very small and legally cannot be exceeded. We feel confident that the strict limits imposed by the DCO, together with huge advances in aircraft technology achieved since the airport closed in 2014, will balance the significant economic and social benefits of a revived and successful Manston Airport with the needs of the local community.


Why does the DCO say there will be no ‘scheduled landings’ between 23:00 and 06:00?

While there will be no planned (scheduled) take offs or landings at Manston overnight, if an aircraft requires the runway in an emergency, or arrives unexpectedly early due to tailwinds, we need to be able to let them land.

If you’re only having less than five large aircraft per hour on average – why do you need 19 large aircraft stands?

Aircraft spend different amounts of time on the ground between services – some less than two hours, others all day – depending upon their next destination and the nature of their cargo. We will have only a few aircraft flying in or out during each hour of the day but will have a significant number on the ground at any one time.

These figures are averages – so could there be more at certain times of the day?

The nature of cargo flights is different to passenger services and so we expect the traffic to be reasonably evenly spread, although there may be a few times of day where there are no movements at all, and others that are more popular. The DCO specifies restrictions on the maximum number of passenger movements at key times of the day to ensure that passengers travelling to and from the airport do not coincide unduly with busy times on the local roads.

How will the movement limit be enforced?

There are many airports across the world which have movement limits and a variety of mechanisms are employed to enforce these. As with the terms of any DCO, it is an offence to breach them, and so RSP will be very careful to comply with every detail.

It’s important to point out that the movement limits for Manston, as set out in the DCO define the maximum number of movements, which we expect the airport will take up to twenty years to even come close to reaching, but if it happens more quickly the economic benefits will also happen more quickly.

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