Sunday, 10 April 2011

Six million passengers.

Before I get all the anti-airport accusations let me say that I am in favour of a “good neighbours” airport,  partially because the repercussions from airport closure would be far worse than allowing reasonable expansion.and I also think the airport has a part to play in Thanet regeneration.

What I disagree with is an immediate permission for 6 million passengers, whether or not they will ever arrive.  Passenger numbers this year were approximately 30,000 so an increase to 6 million is a 200 fold increase, the present annual number of passengers would be handled in two days if the Infratil Masterplan expansion came to fruition. Although even Infratil have downgraded their maximum numbers to 4.7 million.

Assuming an average of 100 passengers per plane it would take 60,000 planes to shift that number of passengers. If the airport was working 365 days in the year it would equal 164 planes per day, 14 planes per hour on a 12 hour day or 7 planes per hour on a 24 hour basis. This does not include any allowance for planes carrying freight.

Before you accuse me of scaremongering, I am not saying this is going to happen, all I am saying is that this level of expansion is, at present, included in the Core Strategy document, “Shaping our Future”

If  a person put in a planning application for one house and was granted permission for  100 flats, you would think that ridiculous, but 6 million will be granted to the airport even if they never can achieve half a million.Unless we get it changed!.

A much better solution would be to grant 250,000 passenger numbers (10 fold increase) with safeguards before any further increase is accepted. Further permission for increase can always be granted , but numbers cannot be reduced once granted.


  1. Ken, people can plan all they like but reality is what counts. I worry whether a small regional airport is sustainable and Manston has already had several failures in its relatively short life.

    If granting some airport owner approval for ambitious plans, probably totally unrealisable, is what it takes to retain their enthusiasm, then why ever not. Why get knickers all twisted over somebody's unrealistic business plan.

    Sadly, the vibes must be going out to investors that Thanet is no place to do business for you are always likely to have the rug pulled from under your feet.

  2. Bill, I hear what you are saying but over ambitious plans polarise peoples' opinions and provide much fuel to the anti-brigade.

    I think it is better to agree a reasonable and realistic target in the not to distant future and see what can be delivered.

    Planning has to be restrictive otherwise it becomes no planning at all

  3. Ken, Bill, I am beginning to think that it is this sort of attitude, allowing things however unlikely to happen that wouldn’t be allowed elsewhere that is a disincentive to businesses coming to Thanet.

    Oh by the way Ken I managed to find, not easy the application number for China Gateway you asked for F/TH/08/0400 sorry it took so long the Pleasurama thing threw mw a bit, I think I must be getting a bit old for trespassing on the most dangerous parts of building sites.

  4. Ken well done, I doubt those figures are achievable but if they got there I think bigger planes would come into play. Still lots of movements though. At the moment one a day is causing enough complaints just thing one every five minutes the blogs would be reed hot.

  5. Nice one Ken. When you turn the figures from a number of people into planes/hour it really starts to hit home as to what this would mean. An airport should be part of the grand plan for the island but it should be constrained by the same bounds of realism that the rest of us are. Grandiose schemes with unrealistic estimates of how this will improve local employment are helpful to no-one.

  6. Very true, Andrew, it is no use counting on imaginary jobs created by imaginary air traffic.