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UK's Manston Airport gets go-ahead at last, but is it needed now?

Premium Analysis

Five years after there were any flights at Manston International Airport in the UK, it appears that its future has now been determined following the granting of a development consent order.

Situated on the east Kent coast close to the town of Ramsgate, Manston airport has one of the longest runways in the country, and its expansion was proposed as part of the Airport Commission’s enquiry into the need for, and location of, a further London area runway, although it was dismissed at an early stage.

The U.S. firm RiverOak Strategic Partners (RSP) has confirmed that the UK Department for Transport has granted a development consent order for Manston International Airport in Kent to be transformed into an international airfreight hub and passenger airport. Construction will start in 2021 and the airport will handle its first cargo services in 1Q2023. RSP has committed to an investment of GBP300 million to rebuild the airport as a global freight hub.

Manston will resume a role as primarily an international airfreight hub. But much has changed in those five years, and the owners will need to demonstrate that such a facility is needed now.

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