RiverOak Strategic Partners





RiverOak Strategic Partners

The DCO is granted! Government confirms international freight hub for Manston Airport

Published on July 9th, 2020

RiverOak Strategic Partners (RSP) is delighted to confirm that the Department for Transport has today (9 July 2020) granted permission for Manston Airport in Kent, South East England to be transformed into an international air freight hub and passenger airfield.

Read the legislation here.

The Government’s decision to grant RSP’s application for a Development Consent Order will create over 23,000 jobs across East Kent and the wider national economy by the Airport’s 20th year of operation.  Construction will begin in 2021 with the Airport operating its first cargo services in the first quarter of 2023.

The COVID-19 virus has demonstrated the fragility and inflexibility of the UK’s air cargo network, which relies almost exclusively on passenger aircraft to carry freight, as well as the urgent need to keep air freight going. It is widely accepted that demand for passenger air travel will take a number of years to return to pre-pandemic levels, if it ever does, and so building the UK’s specialist freight capacity has become even more vital.

RSP has committed to an investment of £300 million to rebuild Manston as a global freight hub, which will enable the airport to fulfil its role in helping the UK trade across the globe and to import vital and time-sensitive goods, including fresh fruit and medical supplies.

As the global economy starts to re-energise and the UK, separated from the EU, negotiates trade deals around the world, Manston will be in a position to address this gap in the UK’s trading infrastructure, providing dedicated air freight capacity adjacent to the London Airports System, free of the uncertainties that face airports reliant solely, or predominantly, on the income from passenger traffic.

Tony Freudmann, director of RSP said: “Once built, Manston will be one of the most modern, efficient and environmentally friendly freight hubs in the world, able to cater for traditional freight as well as the rapidly expanding international e-commerce sector that the UK has so heavily relied upon during the period of lock down.

“It is not lost on RSP how much support we have received from the Thanet and East Kent community and, in particular, from our two dedicated local MPs, Sir Roger Gale and Craig Mackinlay, since the start of the DCO process.

“We are also grateful for the long term view taken by our investment partners. Even before the DCO was granted, they demonstrated their commitment to the local area. The recent £100,000 donation to Age UK Thanet to support its work with isolated older people has been crucial during this difficult time. We have also been involved with a project to bring thousands of trees to six sites in Thanet, part of a longer term commitment to investing in the communities  and the environment around the airport.

“Alongside the work needed to return Manston to operational status, we will now be accelerating both our local procurement programme and the work of the Manston Skills and Employment Board, in partnership with a wide range of business, education, training and local authority organisations, to ensure local people have the skills and experienced needed to benefit from a wide variety of airport jobs.

“After two years of detailed scrutiny of our plans by the Planning Inspectorate and Department for Transport, it is wonderful to have Government support. We can now focus on investing in Thanet and East Kent, creating jobs, and inspiring new generations through our active support for training, education and careers advice for all age groups.”

North Thanet MP, Sir Roger Gale added:

“I am delighted that the Government has given the go-ahead to the redevelopment and reopening of Manston Airport.  This national asset has been closed for far too long but it can now play a critical role in delivering jobs and investment to Thanet, and the wider Kent and UK economy.  Manston has been an airport for more than a hundred years and this decision unlocks many millions of pounds of investment.

“I would like to thank RSP, their investors and my constituents who have campaigned tirelessly since the Airport was closed in 2014 to get it re-opened and who have demonstrated courage and tenacity in their determination to realise Manston`s `front line potential` once again.

“Post-Brexit Britain is going to need additional air freight capacity and Manston can offer this swiftly.”

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