Thanet Star

Manston to Schiphol: Flights determined by a web survey

Twice-daily flights taking only 40 minutes from Manston to Schiphol, near Amsterdam cold soon be a reality.

Boeing 747
Manston Airport has confirmed, says Kent Online, that it is in talks with Dutch airline KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (part of Air France more also known as Air France-KLM).

Schiphol, the destination airport, provides direct links to the rest of Eurppe, America, Asia and Africa. Which, no doubt, New Zealand-based Infratil is hoping will enable them to sell the airport that, like all the airports they own, they have been unable to run out of the red.

This move comes as Air France-KLM seeks new markets to replace projected and actual losses. According to PR Week Air France-KLM has been hit by the economic downturn and volatile oil prices suffering heavy losses. The Franco-Dutch airline also plans to cut more than 5,000 jobs.

Yet all this unsettledness could provide the boost that Thanet has been hoping for. Apparently Air France-KLM have enjoyed a monopoly on certain niche routes which is now coming to an end as Philippine Airlines (PAL) announce that they might be taking on a significant margin of the Philippines traffic to Europe. B World Online writes KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is currently the only carrier offering flights to Europe under its Manila-Taipei-Amsterdam route.

Boeing 747 N309TD
Feeling the pinch Air France-KLM is attempting to position itself as the go-to airline for long-haul business and leisure bookings from the UK. On the 3rd of September Air France-KLM launched a 1m tactical marketing campaign for its KLM Royal Dutch airline focused on London, Scotland, Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle and Bristol. With, according to Marketing Magazine one third of London's buses carrying the "Pack & Go" campaign message.

So as recession and rising oil prices cause havoc for the rest of the world Manston stands to gain considerably as a result. This news only goes to demonstrate that night flights are not needed to make Manston viable.

Air France-KLM are coming in with more than just good intentions. They clearly have a plan that is already in operation. According to Kent Online KLM are saying that they will only come in if we want them to. They even have a survey you can fill out here. The survey runs until 5pm on Friday the 12th of October.

Charles Buchanan, chief executive at Manston Airport has officially said:The airline has asked us to conduct a survey of local residents to find out what the level of demand is for the service.

While this seems like a great attitude (and it is) it is also nothing short of Marketing Genius. Before they have spent any significant money KLM will have a significant local profile from the buzz the survey will have generated. They have actualyl found a way to tap into the ground swell of local activists to generate a self directed marketing team that will preach the word of KLM for them.

With that level of nuanced savy operating out of Manston I see success in their future. What about you?


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Public Comments

This Normal comment was left by Chris Smee [score: 0]:

Completely agree with all you say! At last,some common sense prevails regarding the future of Manston!!
27/09/2012 14:19:02

This Normal comment was left by Laura Sandys [score: 0]:

This is great news for people that live in Dover District, Canterbury District and Shepway that actually back jobs and growth.

Perhaps we can one day persuade the Thanet NIMBYS to accept some night flights also.
27/09/2012 14:53:05

This Normal comment was left by Shinguard [score: 0]:

Good news indeed, daytime flights that actually benefit local people and might even produce a few jobs, unlike the failing Infratil company whose only answer was night time flights and no investment.

Sorry Laura but if you try to make a political point you have to say it like it is.
27/09/2012 15:19:25

This Normal comment was left by Matt B [score: 0]:

To be fair Sandy the independent report basically called Infratil a bunch of liars and said that full time night flights would produce little if any jobs as the staff already have to be employed. The only thing night flights will do is allow Infratil a bigger profit margin when thy finally get a sale.

We're talking about a firm that has yet to run any airport at close to profit but makes the money from the sale. You might drink the kool-aid on this but I know how to do my homework.

Firms like KLM open up Europe to us and create the opportunity to generate some real tourism again. Now if only we could get southern Water to stop discharging into the sea every time it rains we might keep enough blue flags to make this work.
27/09/2012 16:12:09

This Normal comment was left by Dave [score: 0]:

KLM fly from London to Amsterdam cheap fares are about 90 on way. EasyJet do the same for 30. Looks like Manston will only be an option for people living on the doorstep. Only about 300,000 people. Looks like a third of them will have to go to Amsterdam once a year - even those on local average wages to make it pay assuming one of the planes is taking Europeans back.
27/09/2012 19:56:36

This Normal comment was left by Matt B [score: 0]:

Let's not forget that the cost of travel to London is not exactly what one would call cheap.
28/09/2012 12:54:13

This Normal comment was left by Paul [score: 0]:

I like it!
28/09/2012 22:59:35

This Normal comment was left by Michael Wenyon [score: 0]:

I actually had this idea some time ago, being a Thanet resident and after flying Heathrow-Schiphol-Tokyo several times on KLM (because it was cheaper than a direct flight). Manston is close to Schiphol, and the Dutch airport has a single modern terminal that is much more pleasant to transfer within than Heathrow.
06/10/2012 15:55:48

This Normal comment was left by Michael Wenyon [score: 0]:

Since my earlier prediction came out so well, let me add my current fantasy: budget rebookable flights on Southwest Airlines from Manston to Islip Airport on Long Island, a train ride into New York City.
06/10/2012 16:04:37

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01/07/2013 19:00:47

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23/08/2013 11:39:19
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