The US Logistics firm announced as expressing interest in reopening Manston airport says it wants to look at making a ‘direct purchase’ and wants to involve other aviation partners.
The unnamed firm, being represented by Dale Crawford of DTD Consult, last week announced it was proposing an injection of £100m at the site, with the aim of relocating 12 aircraft currently in Europe to the Manston.
The original plan was to gain a compulsory purchase order for the 750-acre plot but following a meeting with Thanet council yesterday (May 9) an update has been issued.
Mr Crawford’s statement, shared on the Supporters of Manston Airport (SuMA) site, said: “”Following our meeting with TDC yesterday, and consulting with my clients, we will be speaking to all parties who have an interest in keeping this facility available for pure aviation use.
“I have also been instructed to speak to the current owners and ascertain what their expectations are, so we can make a decision on a direct purchase instead of entering into a long drawn out process of the CPO application.
“My clients see the tangible benefits of having a fully operational logistics capability combining both the air and sea port, and have no interest in just fighting legal battles.
“Developing employment opportunities and a sustainable business environment is to be kept as our main aim which should not be sidetracked with administrative processes.”
Campaign group Suma has been in contact with Mr Crawford since last year.
Campaigners from Save Manston Airport Association have also issued a statement saying they are happy to work with the potential investors.
In a joint statement Why Not Manston? and Save Manston Airport association said: “We are reaching a critical point in the restoration of the Manston Airport site to full commercial aviation. It is now over three years since the last KLM flight took off; an unhappy anniversary that we hope will not be repeated many more times.
“All the evidence points to the fact that Thanet, Kent, South East England and indeed the whole United Kingdom need the opportunities that this airport can offer.
“This is therefore a good time to reiterate the absolute determination of our groups to support any realistic proposal to achieve this aim.”
North Thanet MP Roger Gale, who has been backing the bid by RSP and their predecessors, the US RiverOak corporation, to process a Development Consent Order through Government in a bid to take over the site and create an aviation cargo hub, questioned the timing of the first announcement during the KCC election period.
The land is owned by Stone Hill Park which has submitted a masterplan to Thanet District Council for 2,500 homes; an advanced manufacturing focused business park; sports and recreational facilities, with the former runway becoming the focal point for a network of parkland, trails and outdoor space, and a ‘heritage hub’ at the site.
SHP spokesman Ray Mallon said the firm was aware of the new interested party but remained firm that the company would not be selling the Manston airport site.