Thanet Star

Airports, nights and flights

Lufty Jumbo Jet
With the "big" consultation open what are the main issues and where do you stand on them?

In case you were visiting the little green men for the past few years you will know that a decision is about to be made on allowing more flights at night from Manston Airport. Thanet District Council have asked for our views on the matter and I suggest that this time we make sure they get them.

When our council "consulted" on the direct election of the council leader 100% of responses said "yes" but they concluded that the number was low enough to be ignored. Your opinion is too important to be trusted to "fate" (or the whims of those that can justify ignoring a consultation 100% in favour of something).

To quote Michael Child:

The council haven’t made this an easy one, you can’t just enter your name and postcode and tick, yes I want night flights of no I don’t want night flights. What you have to do is send them an email or write to them.

Responses must contain your full name and address (WITH YOUR POSTCODE) either email your response to consultation@thanet.gov.uk or post it to:

Thanet District Council,
PO Box 9,
Margate,
CT9 1XZ

What are the core issues of flights at night from Manston Airport?

jumbo jet
On the face of it the question is should we allow modern fixed wing air craft aka aeroplanes to fly (mostly over Ramsgate) from our local airport during the wee small hours. I would like to suggest this is not the issue.

It is true that the application is asking for permission to fly (jet) planes at night but the decision is not so much about noise as it is about the reasonableness of the request.

If we say "yes" then we also say yes to a few houses losing value. To a few people being forced to move and a few lives disrupted. Those that this will happen to truly have my deepest sympathy. For them the "yes" will always be unjust.

But our council must balance the needs of all groups with at least some attempt at big picture fairness. So the question is one of an exchange. A trade if you will.

The big question is not are the flights a good idea - in an ideal world we would simply teleport to our destinations - rather the question is this: Is the cost of allowing these flights worth the value we will gain from it.

For the airport operators the value of a "yes" is huge and the cost is so minimal as to be negligible. For those disrupted the cost is high - very high even - and the benefit is zero.

What about the rest of us?

1959 Convair 880 main-cabin
The independent report that the council commissioned suggests that no jobs will be created as the airport already must maintain night staff.

Think about that: no new jobs are on the balance sheet.

Also the likely use of these flights will not be to get trade into Thanet but use it as a stop over. The result being no new economic activity on the balance sheet.

We are being asked to let the airport operators out of their agreement for their personal profit in the hope that the minority that will suffer will be overlooked or ignored.

I can see that we, the people of Thanet, are being offered nothing but some of us are being asked to pay the price. For the balance to be fair none of us must suffer even slightly.

To put it another way - what's in it for us? (nothing).

I would suggest that we tell the council that unless we are offered something a bit more valuable than hot air that they say no and hold out for a significantly better offer.

What's your take on the question are you a yes, no or not sure (and why)?

BA Boeing 747-400
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