Thanet Star

We cannot afford to lose Manston say Lib Dems

Thanet's Liberal Democrat candidates call for the creation of an aircraft recycle site to create jobs and growth for Thanet.

Speaking at the "Save Manston" meeting last weekend, Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidates George Cunningham (North Thanet) and Russ Timpson (South Thanet)have called for a new strategic plan for Manston airport, including a new focus for its use as an aircraft recycle site, as well as widening the search for investors.

The future of Manston airport is not necessarily in passenger traffic. The fact is that it is the only place in the UK having an environmental agency licence to recycle aircrafts. No single facility exists in the world currently to meet the huge worldwide demand expected in the next few years. Any new investor would find Manston a unique international proposition in this respect, said Russ Timpson, also an expert in this field.  

The Liberal Democrat candidates also want to build links between Manston and East Kent College in order to also use the airport as a civil aviation training facility. 

One of the major challenges for recycling aircraft is the need of qualified engineers and staff. Now, the presence of East Kent College represents for us a strategic advantage. We can link with East Kent College to train engineers and create apprentices for students. Thus, in 3-5 years' time, these people will be able to serve as staff for operational aircrafts. Moving toward this direction would lead to the creation of qualified jobs' positions and of a national centre of excellence in the field such as an Aerospace college Timpson continued.

Cunningham says We Liberal Democrats believe in deeds, not just words. There is a search for investors going on but there seems no business plan to attract them. I am already using my international contacts to widen the scope of the search for investors, particularly in the Far East.

Cunningham and Timpson reject suggestions that Manston's future could stay primarily in passenger traffic and tourism (which Thanet Star has also been saying). They (rightly) point out that Dover and others have tried for years to develop in that direction without success.

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