Was it worth punting £1 on Manston? . In my view no! Or at least no if you wanted to buy an airport which it was claimed would be handling 5 million passengers and 400,000 tonnes of freight in the next 10 years. As transport pundit, Simon Calder, pointed out this week the passenger catchment area is simply too small to make Manston viable. Even with a Parkway Station and faster rail links to London, subsidised at great expense by the taxpayer, Manston would remain hard to reach. Frankly who in their right mind would chose Manston when, for most passengers, it’s easier to get to Gatwick, Heathrow, Stanstead or even Southend? Who in their right mind would choose Manston and its limited facilities and services when you have a choice of modern, international standard, airports within 2 hours travel? Even as freight focused airport Manston’s opportunities are limited. Distances to and from major storage and distribution centres are too great and the additional transport costs too high, for Manston to be a serious player.
Sadly, like the Port of Ramsgate, Manston Airport lives in the shadow of modern transport colossi against whom it will never be able to successfully compete. So instead of continuing to prop up this ailing aerodrome at the cost of £millions per year, perhaps its time, just like the port, to think about other uses. Which gets back to my original question. Was it worth punting £1 on Manston? Too damn right it was! £1 gets you an awful lot of real estate which could eventually be sold off at massive profit for housing, retail, leisure, or industrial use. No wonder Anne Golag is one of the richest women in the country.