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.