Manston's solution to South East runway shortage
Bosses at Manston are maintaining that the Kent airport can be part of the solution to the runway capacity shortage in the South East, following the Cabinet reshuffle.
Justine Greening, the former Transport Secretary who is fiercely opposed to a third runway at Heathrow, has been replaced by Patrick McLoughlin, who is said to have an open mind on the expansion of the London airport.
Charles Buchanan, Chief Executive of Manston Airport, said: “We are very much looking forward to working with Patrick McLoughlin and his team, ensuring they are fully briefed on the existing capacity at Manston which is available today. If the expansion of Heathrow does go ahead, it will not happen for many years and we have the facilities to operate now to meet the demand for growth before any alternative is in place.”
Grant Shapps, newly appointed Chairman of the Conservative Party, has ruled out expansion of Heathrow for the current parliament which ends in 2015. He has confirmed that there’s a capacity problem in the South East and the Coalition ‘wants to put the right measures in place to make sure that we do have sufficient capacity’.
Talking to BBC Breakfast, Grant Shapps said: “The Coalition agreement makes it absolutely clear that we won’t be building a third runway at Heathrow. We also said that we think it’s important for the economic growth of Britain to ensure that we have enough ports, including airports, to get goods, services and people in and out of this country.
“We’re not going to break our manifesto pledge but we are going to make sure that we do not let Britain down by not having sufficient capacity in the future in London and the South East.”
Charles Buchanan continued: “We have an existing runway that’s capable of handling the Boeing 747 and Airbus A340, and currently has the capacity to welcome up to 1m passengers and 100,000 tonnes of freight per year. This is an opportunity to develop airport capacity in the South East which the government must recognise and capitalise on.”