Kent International Airport
Overview
 
Manston - Kent's International Airport is an airport
Airport
An airport is a location where aircraft such as fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters, and blimps take off and land. Aircraft may be stored or maintained at an airport...

 located at Manston
Manston, Kent
Manston is a village and civil parish in the Thanet district of Kent, England. The village is situated one mile north-west of Ramsgate. The parish includes four hamlets and Kent International Airport.-Etymology:...

 in the District of Thanet
Thanet
Thanet is a local government district of Kent, England which was formed under the Local Government Act 1972, and came into being on 1 April 1974...

 within Kent
Kent
Kent is a county in southeast England, and is one of the home counties. It borders East Sussex, Surrey and Greater London and has a defined boundary with Essex in the middle of the Thames Estuary. The ceremonial county boundaries of Kent include the shire county of Kent and the unitary borough of...

, England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, 11 NM northeast of Canterbury
Canterbury
Canterbury is a historic English cathedral city, which lies at the heart of the City of Canterbury, a district of Kent in South East England. It lies on the River Stour....

. It was formerly called RAF Manston
RAF Manston
RAF Manston was an RAF station in the north-east of Kent, at on the Isle of Thanet from 1916 until 1996. The site is now split between a commercial airport Kent International Airport and a continuing military use by the Defence Fire Training and Development Centre , following on from a long...

(a Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

 airfield), and was also known as London Manston Airport. The single runway is located about 1 miles (1.6 km) from the coastline at 178 ft (54 m) above sea level
Sea level
Mean sea level is a measure of the average height of the ocean's surface ; used as a standard in reckoning land elevation...

 and is 2752 m (9,029 ft) long.
At the outset of the Great War
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, the Isle of Thanet
Isle of Thanet
The Isle of Thanet lies at the most easterly point of Kent, England. While in the past it was separated from the mainland by the nearly -wide River Wantsum, it is no longer an island ....

 was equipped with a small and precarious landing strip for aircraft at St Mildreds Bay, Westgate
Westgate-on-Sea
Westgate-on-Sea is a seaside town in northeast Kent, England, with a population of 6,600. It is within the Thanet local government district and borders the larger seaside resort of Margate...

, on top of the chalk cliffs, at the foot of which was a promenade which had been used for seaplane
Seaplane
A seaplane is a fixed-wing aircraft capable of taking off and landing on water. Seaplanes that can also take off and land on airfields are a subclass called amphibian aircraft...

 operations.

The landing grounds atop the cliff soon became the scene of several accidents, with at least one plane seen to fail to stop before the end of the cliffs and tumble into the sea, which, fortunately for the pilot, had been on its inward tide.

In the winter of 1915-1916, these early aircraft began to use the open farmlands at Manston
Manston, Kent
Manston is a village and civil parish in the Thanet district of Kent, England. The village is situated one mile north-west of Ramsgate. The parish includes four hamlets and Kent International Airport.-Etymology:...

 as a site for emergency landings.
Encyclopedia
Manston - Kent's International Airport is an airport
Airport
An airport is a location where aircraft such as fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters, and blimps take off and land. Aircraft may be stored or maintained at an airport...

 located at Manston
Manston, Kent
Manston is a village and civil parish in the Thanet district of Kent, England. The village is situated one mile north-west of Ramsgate. The parish includes four hamlets and Kent International Airport.-Etymology:...

 in the District of Thanet
Thanet
Thanet is a local government district of Kent, England which was formed under the Local Government Act 1972, and came into being on 1 April 1974...

 within Kent
Kent
Kent is a county in southeast England, and is one of the home counties. It borders East Sussex, Surrey and Greater London and has a defined boundary with Essex in the middle of the Thames Estuary. The ceremonial county boundaries of Kent include the shire county of Kent and the unitary borough of...

, England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, 11 NM northeast of Canterbury
Canterbury
Canterbury is a historic English cathedral city, which lies at the heart of the City of Canterbury, a district of Kent in South East England. It lies on the River Stour....

. It was formerly called RAF Manston
RAF Manston
RAF Manston was an RAF station in the north-east of Kent, at on the Isle of Thanet from 1916 until 1996. The site is now split between a commercial airport Kent International Airport and a continuing military use by the Defence Fire Training and Development Centre , following on from a long...

(a Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

 airfield), and was also known as London Manston Airport. The single runway is located about 1 miles (1.6 km) from the coastline at 178 ft (54 m) above sea level
Sea level
Mean sea level is a measure of the average height of the ocean's surface ; used as a standard in reckoning land elevation...

 and is 2752 m (9,029 ft) long.

History

At the outset of the Great War
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, the Isle of Thanet
Isle of Thanet
The Isle of Thanet lies at the most easterly point of Kent, England. While in the past it was separated from the mainland by the nearly -wide River Wantsum, it is no longer an island ....

 was equipped with a small and precarious landing strip for aircraft at St Mildreds Bay, Westgate
Westgate-on-Sea
Westgate-on-Sea is a seaside town in northeast Kent, England, with a population of 6,600. It is within the Thanet local government district and borders the larger seaside resort of Margate...

, on top of the chalk cliffs, at the foot of which was a promenade which had been used for seaplane
Seaplane
A seaplane is a fixed-wing aircraft capable of taking off and landing on water. Seaplanes that can also take off and land on airfields are a subclass called amphibian aircraft...

 operations.

The landing grounds atop the cliff soon became the scene of several accidents, with at least one plane seen to fail to stop before the end of the cliffs and tumble into the sea, which, fortunately for the pilot, had been on its inward tide.

In the winter of 1915-1916, these early aircraft began to use the open farmlands at Manston
Manston, Kent
Manston is a village and civil parish in the Thanet district of Kent, England. The village is situated one mile north-west of Ramsgate. The parish includes four hamlets and Kent International Airport.-Etymology:...

 as a site for emergency landings. Thus was established the Admiralty
Admiralty
The Admiralty was formerly the authority in the Kingdom of England, and later in the United Kingdom, responsible for the command of the Royal Navy...

 Aerodrome at Manston. Not long after, the training school, set up originally to instruct pilots in the use of the new Handley Page
Handley Page Type O
The Handley Page Type O was an early biplane bomber used by Britain during the First World War. At the time, it was the largest aircraft that had been built in the UK and one of the largest in the world...

 bombers, was established; so by the close of 1916 there were already two distinct units stationed at Manston: the Operational War Flight Command and the Handley Page Training School.

Its location near the Kent coast gave Manston some advantages over other aerodromes, and regular additions in men and machinery were soon made, particularly, in early days, from Detling
Detling
Detling is a village and civil parish in the Borough of Maidstone in Kent, England. The parish is located on the slope of the North Downs, north east of Maidstone, and on the Pilgrims' Way....

. By 1917 the Royal Flying Corps
Royal Flying Corps
The Royal Flying Corps was the over-land air arm of the British military during most of the First World War. During the early part of the war, the RFC's responsibilities were centred on support of the British Army, via artillery co-operation and photographic reconnaissance...

 was well established and taking an active part in the defence of England.

In the Second World War
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, after an eventful Battle of Britain
Battle of Britain
The Battle of Britain is the name given to the World War II air campaign waged by the German Air Force against the United Kingdom during the summer and autumn of 1940...

 during which Manston was heavily bombed, Barnes Wallis
Barnes Wallis
Sir Barnes Neville Wallis, CBE FRS, RDI, FRAeS , was an English scientist, engineer and inventor. He is best known for inventing the bouncing bomb used by the RAF in Operation Chastise to attack the dams of the Ruhr Valley during World War II...

 used the base to test his bouncing bomb
Bouncing bomb
A bouncing bomb is a bomb designed specifically to bounce to a target across water in a calculated manner, in order to avoid obstacles such as torpedo nets, and to allow both the bomb's speed on arrival at the target and the timing of its detonation to be pre-determined...

 on the coast at nearby Reculver
Reculver
Reculver is a hamlet and coastal resort situated about east of Herne Bay in southeast England. It is a ward of the City of Canterbury district in the county of Kent. Reculver once occupied a strategic location at the western end of the Wantsum Channel, between the Isle of Thanet and the Kent...

 prior to the Dambusters raid
Operation Chastise
Operation Chastise was an attack on German dams carried out on 16–17 May 1943 by Royal Air Force No. 617 Squadron, subsequently known as the "Dambusters", using a specially developed "bouncing bomb" invented and developed by Barnes Wallis...

.

Hawker Typhoon
Hawker Typhoon
The Hawker Typhoon was a British single-seat fighter-bomber, produced by Hawker Aircraft. While the Typhoon was designed to be a medium-high altitude interceptor, and a direct replacement for the Hawker Hurricane, several design problems were encountered, and the Typhoon never completely satisfied...

 and Meteor
Gloster Meteor
The Gloster Meteor was the first British jet fighter and the Allies' first operational jet. It first flew in 1943 and commenced operations on 27 July 1944 with 616 Squadron of the Royal Air Force...

 squadrons were both based at Manston during the Second World War. Being close to the front-line and having a long and broad runway, the airfield became something of a magnet for badly damaged planes that had suffered from ground fire, collisions or air attack but retained a degree of airworthiness
Airworthiness
Airworthiness is a term used to describe whether an aircraft has been certified as suitable for safe flight. Certification is initially conferred by a Certificate of Airworthiness from a National Airworthiness Authority, and is maintained by performing required maintenance actions by a licensed...

. The airfield also became a "graveyard" for heavy bombers and less-damaged aircraft, offering spare parts for allied aircraft in need of repair. The museums on site display some startling aerial views dating from this era and the post-war years.

During the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 of the 1950s, the United States Air Force
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

 used Manston as a Strategic Air Command
Strategic Air Command
The Strategic Air Command was both a Major Command of the United States Air Force and a "specified command" of the United States Department of Defense. SAC was the operational establishment in charge of America's land-based strategic bomber aircraft and land-based intercontinental ballistic...

 base for its fighter and fighter-bomber units.

The USAF withdrew from Manston in 1960, and the airfield became a joint civilian and RAF airport, employed for occasional package tour
Package holiday
A package holiday or package tour consists of transport and accommodation advertised and sold together by a vendor known as a tour operator. Other services may be provided like a rental car, activities or outings during the holiday. Transport can be via charter airline to a foreign country...

 and cargo flights, alongside its continuing role as an RAF base. The Air Cadets
Combined Cadet Force
The Combined Cadet Force is a Ministry of Defence sponsored youth organisation in the United Kingdom. Its aim is to "provide a disciplined organisation in a school so that pupils may develop powers of leadership by means of training to promote the qualities of responsibility, self reliance,...

 used the northern side of the airfield as a gliding site, and an Air Experience Flight
Air Experience Flight
An Air Experience Flight is a training unit of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve whose main purpose is to give introductory flying experience to Air Cadets or the RAF section of the Combined Cadet Force...

 flying De Havilland Chipmunk
De Havilland Canada DHC-1 Chipmunk
The de Havilland Canada DHC-1 Chipmunk is a tandem, two-seat, single-engined primary trainer aircraft which was the standard primary trainer for the Royal Canadian Air Force, Royal Air Force and several other air forces through much of the post-Second World War years...

s was based there. Thanks to its broad long runway, (built during the Second World War, along with Woodbridge
RAF Woodbridge
Royal Air Force Station Woodbridge, more commonly referred to as RAF Woodbridge, is a former Royal Air Force military airbase situated to the east of Woodbridge in the county of Suffolk, England...

's, to allow returning damaged bombers a longer than usual runway to land on), Manston was used as a diversionary airfield for emergency military and civilian landings.

From 1989 Manston became Kent International Airport, and a new terminal was opened by the Duchess of York
Sarah, Duchess of York
Sarah, Duchess of York is a British charity patron, spokesperson, writer, film producer, television personality and former member of the British Royal Family. She is the former wife of Prince Andrew, Duke of York, whom she married from 1986 to 1996...

. A number of charter flights operated by Dan-Air
Dan-Air
Dan-Air was a leading private, independentindependent from government-owned corporations airline based in the United Kingdom....

 to Palma (Mallorca) were introduced on a Saturday using their BAC One Eleven during the summer season. Aviogenex
Aviogenex
Aviogenex is a charter airline based in Belgrade, Serbia. It operates regular and ad hoc charter flights, and wet-lease services, worldwide. Its main base is Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport.-History:...

 the Yugoslavian carrier at the time operated a number of regular charters to the then popular beach resorts of the former Yogoslavia on behalf of the now defunct Yugotours.

It is also allegedly listed by NASA
NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

, although never used, as an emergency diversionary landing strip for the Space Shuttle
Space Shuttle
The Space Shuttle was a manned orbital rocket and spacecraft system operated by NASA on 135 missions from 1981 to 2011. The system combined rocket launch, orbital spacecraft, and re-entry spaceplane with modular add-ons...

 programme. However, RAF Fairford
RAF Fairford
RAF Fairford is a Royal Air Force station in Gloucestershire, England. It is a standby airfield, not in everyday use. Its most prominent use in recent years has been as an airfield for United States Air Force B-52s during the 2003 Iraq War, Operation Allied Force in 1999, and the first Gulf War in...

 is currently the only site in the United Kingdom listed as an emergency landing site.

Since 1990

After an absence of regular charter services, Aspro Holidays operated a series of summer charter services during the 1992/3 summer season with its in-house airline Inter European Airways
Inter European Airways
-History:Inter European Airways commenced operation in May 1987.Initial plans had indicated the use of two Boeing 737-300 aircraft, but in place of these a single 737-200 leased from GPA was used....

 to Palma (Mallorca) and continued by adding an additional service to Heraklion (Crete) which was often operated using their larger Boeing 757
Boeing 757
The Boeing 757 is a mid-size, narrow-body twin-engine jet airliner manufactured by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. Passenger versions of the twinjet have a capacity of 186 to 289 persons and a maximum range of , depending on variant and cabin configuration...

 airliner. Flights continued until Aspro Holidays was taken over by the then Airtours Holiday group, at which point these flights ceased. The early 90's also see weekly flights to Larnaca (Cyprus) with then specialist operator Cypriana Holidays were introduced using Eurocypria shared with the inbound flight operating via Norwich as a split load. This service continued for approximately two summer seasons before Cypriana Holidays went into administration.

Manston is now a commercial airport. In 1998, Thanet District Council
Thanet District Council
Thanet District Council is the local government body for the Thanet district. Its administrative centre is Margate. It is one of the district councils in Kent...

 produced the Isle of Thanet local plan which recognised the economic development potential of abandoned parts of the old military airfield, particularly on its north-western edge.

After the plan was published, the Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom)
The Ministry of Defence is the United Kingdom government department responsible for implementation of government defence policy and is the headquarters of the British Armed Forces....

 announced plans to sell off RAF Manston. After a ruling by the British Labour
Labour Party (UK)
The Labour Party is a centre-left democratic socialist party in the United Kingdom. It surpassed the Liberal Party in general elections during the early 1920s, forming minority governments under Ramsay MacDonald in 1924 and 1929-1931. The party was in a wartime coalition from 1940 to 1945, after...

 Government's Chancellor of the Exchequer
Chancellor of the Exchequer
The Chancellor of the Exchequer is the title held by the British Cabinet minister who is responsible for all economic and financial matters. Often simply called the Chancellor, the office-holder controls HM Treasury and plays a role akin to the posts of Minister of Finance or Secretary of the...

, Gordon Brown
Gordon Brown
James Gordon Brown is a British Labour Party politician who was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Labour Party from 2007 until 2010. He previously served as Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Labour Government from 1997 to 2007...

 -- instructing government departments to generate money by the sale of surplus assets following the example of the Thatcher government
Thatcher Ministry
Margaret Thatcher was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom between 4 May 1979 and 28 November 1990, during which time she led a Conservative government. She was the first woman to hold that office...

 -- the Ministry of Defence sold the site.

Following the RAF's departure, local MP, Dr. Stephen Ladyman
Stephen Ladyman
Stephen John Ladyman is a British Labour Party politician who was the Member of Parliament for South Thanet from 1997 until 2010.-Early life:...

 opposed the decision to sell the base to a property developer (Wiggins Group PLC). The ministry sold the site at the end of March 1999 for £4.75m. The airfield comprises 700 acres (2.8 km²).

Kent International Airport was initially a 38 acres (153,780.7 m²) civilian area within the former RAF Manston including the existing terminal
Airport terminal
An airport terminal is a building at an airport where passengers transfer between ground transportation and the facilities that allow them to board and disembark from aircraft....

 building and an apron
Airport ramp
The airport ramp or apron is part of an airport. It is usually the area where aircraft are parked, unloaded or loaded, refueled or boarded. Although the use of the apron is covered by regulations, such as lighting on vehicles, it is typically more accessible to users than the runway or taxiway...

 where passengers embark and the largest of freighters may be loaded. The runway however, is not included within this enclave. In 1988 the owners of Kent International Airport negotiated a 125-year legal agreement with the RAF obliging the Air Force to maintain the runway, the air traffic control
Air traffic control
Air traffic control is a service provided by ground-based controllers who direct aircraft on the ground and in the air. The primary purpose of ATC systems worldwide is to separate aircraft to prevent collisions, to organize and expedite the flow of traffic, and to provide information and other...

 and to provide ongoing emergency services. The cost of providing runway maintenance, air traffic control and Fire and Rescue services had been estimated at up to £3m per annum by the MoD.

The RAF faced a compensation claim of £50-100 million if they then closed the base and terminated their earlier agreement with Kent International Airport. The Wiggins Group, therefore, purchased the Kent International Airport and inherited the legal agreement obliging the RAF to continue maintenance of the airfield. Within six months, the RAF announced that they were leaving the airfield; Wiggins, as successful bidders, then purchased the remainder of the airfield.

Picturesque private aircraft based here include a Boeing Stearman . Two museums can be found on the northern edge of the airfield, providing a glimpse of the aerodrome's military heritage.
Rapid development began in 2004 in an attempt to make it a budget airline
Low-cost carrier
A low-cost carrier or low-cost airline is an airline that generally has lower fares and fewer comforts...

 hub
Airline hub
An airline hub is an airport that an airline uses as a transfer point to get passengers to their intended destination. It is part of a hub and spoke model, where travelers moving between airports not served by direct flights change planes en route to their destinations...

 and an Irish
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

 airline EUjet
EUjet
EUjet was a low-cost airline based at Shannon Airport, Ireland. It operated a network of services from its main base at Shannon Airport , with a hub at Kent International Airport , Manston, Kent, UK. The airline was sold to a British company, PlaneStation, which also owned Kent airport, for €10m...

 formed in 2002 began scheduled flights in September 2004 to destinations such as Manchester
Manchester
Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...

, Edinburgh
Edinburgh
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, the second largest city in Scotland, and the eighth most populous in the United Kingdom. The City of Edinburgh Council governs one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas. The council area includes urban Edinburgh and a rural area...

 and Dublin with a small fleet of Fokker 100 airliner
Airliner
An airliner is a large fixed-wing aircraft for transporting passengers and cargo. Such aircraft are operated by airlines. Although the definition of an airliner can vary from country to country, an airliner is typically defined as an aircraft intended for carrying multiple passengers in commercial...

s. Car parking areas were built and a direct coach service from Bluewater via Chatham
Chatham, Medway
Chatham is one of the Medway towns located within the Medway unitary authority, in North Kent, in South East England.Although the dockyard has long been closed and is now being redeveloped into a business and residential community as well as a museum featuring the famous submarine, HMS Ocelot,...

 was instituted to support this enterprise, which follows the low fare, no-frills, web-marketing style pioneered by Ryanair
Ryanair
Ryanair is an Irish low-cost airline. Its head office is at Dublin Airport and its primary operational bases at Dublin Airport and London Stansted Airport....

 in the UK. On 26 July 2005 all EUjet operations were suspended along with all non-freight operations at the airport due to financial difficulties with the airport and airline's owner PlaneStation. Their business plan was ambitious and their bankers had lost patience, causing both businesses to fail and leading to many passengers being stranded abroad. Infratil
Infratil
Infratil Limited is a New Zealand-based infrastructure investment company. It owns several airports, electricity generators and retailers, and a public transport business, with operations in New Zealand, Australia and Europe. Infratil was founded by Lloyd Morrison, a Wellington-based merchant...

, a Wellington
Wellington
Wellington is the capital city and third most populous urban area of New Zealand, although it is likely to have surpassed Christchurch due to the exodus following the Canterbury Earthquake. It is at the southwestern tip of the North Island, between Cook Strait and the Rimutaka Range...

, New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

 based company subsequently bought the airport interest from the administrators.

A 1993 report from the Department of Trade and Industry examined runway capacity in South East England
South East England
South East England is one of the nine official regions of England, designated in 1994 and adopted for statistical purposes in 1999. It consists of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, East Sussex, Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Kent, Oxfordshire, Surrey and West Sussex...

 and found that Manston was unsuitable for development as a major airport considering its proximity to the town. However the sale went against the local council's plan at a loss of about £65,000,000.

In December 2003 the government issued a White Paper
White paper
A white paper is an authoritative report or guide that helps solve a problem. White papers are used to educate readers and help people make decisions, and are often requested and used in politics, policy, business, and technical fields. In commercial use, the term has also come to refer to...

 on "The Future of Air Transport", in which it states that Manston "could play a valuable role in meeting local demand and could contribute to regional economic development." The government would support development in principle, "subject to relevant environmental considerations".

The airport and runway were also used for the making of the James Bond
James Bond
James Bond, code name 007, is a fictional character created in 1953 by writer Ian Fleming, who featured him in twelve novels and two short story collections. There have been a six other authors who wrote authorised Bond novels or novelizations after Fleming's death in 1964: Kingsley Amis,...

 film Die Another Day
Die Another Day
Die Another Day is the 20th spy film in the James Bond series, and the fourth and last film to star Pierce Brosnan as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond; it is also the last Bond film of the original timeline with the series being rebooted with Casino Royale...

, when the airport was transformed into a North Korea
North Korea
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...

n airbase

Since 2005

On 26 July 2005 London Manston Airport Plc went into liquidation. Operations were temporarily suspended, along with Manston's air traffic zone and radar services, until a new buyer could be signed-up. A sale of Manston to Infratil (owner of Glasgow Prestwick Airport) was completed on 26 August 2005.

One year later, in July 2006, a charter route between Manston, and Norfolk, Virginia
Norfolk, Virginia
Norfolk is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. With a population of 242,803 as of the 2010 Census, it is Virginia's second-largest city behind neighboring Virginia Beach....

 was announced and was scheduled to begin service in 2007 but has since been cancelled due to low bookings. It was to be operated by tour operator Cosmos, in conjunction with Monarch Airlines
Monarch Airlines
Monarch Airlines, often shortened to and trading as Monarch, is a British charter and scheduled airline based at London Luton Airport in Luton. It is one of the United Kingdom's largest charter airlines, operating to Europe, the United States, the Caribbean, India and Africa, serving mainly leisure...

.

Luxembourg based Cargolux
Cargolux
Cargolux Airlines International S.A., trading as Cargolux, is a cargo airline with its head office on the grounds of Luxembourg – Findel Airport in Sandweiler, Luxembourg. It is one of the largest scheduled all-cargo airlines in Europe with a global network...

  started flying for Ghana Airways
Ghana Airways
Ghana Airways Limited was the national airline of the Republic of Ghana with its main base of operation, and hub, at Kotoka International Airport in Accra....

 from Accra
Accra
Accra is the capital and largest city of Ghana, with an urban population of 1,658,937 according to the 2000 census. Accra is also the capital of the Greater Accra Region and of the Accra Metropolitan District, with which it is coterminous...

 to Kent International on 17 April 2007.

Charter flights were operated from Manston by Seguro Travel Limited, trading as "Kent Escapes". The 2007 Kent Escapes flights were operated by Sky Wings
Sky Wings
Sky Wings is a Greek charter airline that was founded in 2004 and started operations in June 2006.Sky Wings was owned by Greek and Ukrainian interests namely Khors Aircompany .-Destinations:...

 using a McDonnell Douglas MD-80 until August. Seguro then swapped operators due to problems. From 16 August the flights were taken over by bmi
Bmi (airline)
British Midland Airways Limited , is an airline based at Donington Hall in Castle Donington in the United Kingdom, close to East Midlands Airport, and a fully owned subsidiary of Lufthansa...

 for a period. At the end of the season flights were operated by Futura
Futura International Airways
Futura International Airways was an airline based in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. It operated scheduled services and charter flights for tour operators and other airlines, in Europe, as well as wet lease and ad hoc charters...

, a Spanish based airline using the Boeing 737
Boeing 737
The Boeing 737 is a short- to medium-range, twin-engine narrow-body jet airliner. Originally developed as a shorter, lower-cost twin-engine airliner derived from Boeing's 707 and 727, the 737 has developed into a family of nine passenger models with a capacity of 85 to 215 passengers...

. Futura Airlines ceased trading during September 2008 leading to Seguro Travel in turn ceasing to trade on 10 September 2008.

Cargo airline DAS Air Cargo
DAS Air Cargo
DAS Air Cargo was a Ugandan cargo airline based at Entebbe. It operated all-cargo services between Europe and 20 cities throughout Africa, the Middle East and the Far East. Entebbe was a major hub for business in east and southern Africa and also for flights from Bangkok which stage through Dubai...

 used a maintenance hangar
Hangar
A hangar is a closed structure to hold aircraft or spacecraft in protective storage. Most hangars are built of metal, but other materials such as wood and concrete are also sometimes used...

 at the airport and were taken over by Continental Aviation Services in November 2007. The facility was used for maintenance on their own aircraft as well as those of World Airways
World Airways
World Airways, Inc. is an American airline headquartered at the HLH Building in Peachtree City, Georgia. For the most part, the company operates non-scheduled services. Its main aircraft and maintenance base is Tampa International Airport.-History:...

, Omni Air International
Omni Air International
Omni Air International, Inc. is a United States charter airline with its headquarters in Hangar 19 on the grounds of Tulsa International Airport in Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA. It operates international and domestic passenger charters, as well as wet leasing....

, Gemini Air Cargo
Gemini Air Cargo
Gemini Air Cargo was an American ACMI cargo airline headquartered in Dulles, Virginia, USA. It operated worldwide cargo schedules and charters on a wet-lease basis....

 and Avient Aviation
Avient Aviation
Avient Aviation is an international cargo airline with its head office in Harare, Zimbabwe. The company was established in 1993 and offers scheduled and chartered flights to Africa and now operates scheduled services out of its hubs at Liège Airport in Belgium and at Sharjah International Airport...

 but they themselves went into administration in early 2009. AvMan Engineering Ltd took over the hangar a few months after. AvMan Engineering have CAA approval to work on BAe-146 and McDonnell Douglas MD-80 aircraft as well as the engines on both types.

The RAF Manston History Museum is still on the site, as is the Spitfire
Supermarine Spitfire
The Supermarine Spitfire is a British single-seat fighter aircraft that was used by the Royal Air Force and many other Allied countries throughout the Second World War. The Spitfire continued to be used as a front line fighter and in secondary roles into the 1950s...

 and Hurricane
Hawker Hurricane
The Hawker Hurricane is a British single-seat fighter aircraft that was designed and predominantly built by Hawker Aircraft Ltd for the Royal Air Force...

 memorial.

On 15 February 2010, airport CEO Matt Clarke and Flybe Head of PR and Public Affairs, Niall Duffy announced a daily service operated by Flybe
Flybe
Flybe Group PLC is a British low-cost regional airline headquartered at the Jack Walker House at Exeter International Airport in Devon, England...

 from Manston
Manston
Manston is the name of a number of settlements:* Manston, Dorset* Manston, Kent** location of RAF Manston* Manston, Leeds...

 to Edinburgh
Edinburgh
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, the second largest city in Scotland, and the eighth most populous in the United Kingdom. The City of Edinburgh Council governs one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas. The council area includes urban Edinburgh and a rural area...

, Kirkwall
Kirkwall
Kirkwall is the biggest town and capital of Orkney, off the coast of northern mainland Scotland. The town is first mentioned in Orkneyinga saga in the year 1046 when it is recorded as the residence of Rögnvald Brusason the Earl of Orkney, who was killed by his uncle Thorfinn the Mighty...

 and Sumburgh
Sumburgh
Sumburgh may refer to various places near the southern extremity of mainland Shetland in Scotland:* Sumburgh Head, a headland* Sumburgh Airport, the islands' main air terminal* Sumburgh, Shetland, a small settlement...

, Belfast
Belfast
Belfast is the capital of and largest city in Northern Ireland. By population, it is the 14th biggest city in the United Kingdom and second biggest on the island of Ireland . It is the seat of the devolved government and legislative Northern Ireland Assembly...

 and Manchester
Manchester
Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...

. The services, starting on May 27 is the first daily scheduled route at Manston
Manston
Manston is the name of a number of settlements:* Manston, Dorset* Manston, Kent** location of RAF Manston* Manston, Leeds...

 since the collapse of EU Jet in 2005. Dash-8Q400 aircraft will be used on the services. Air Southwest announced seasonal charter services to Jersey, which will operate every Saturday using Dash-8 aircraft.
The FlyBe
Flybe
Flybe Group PLC is a British low-cost regional airline headquartered at the Jack Walker House at Exeter International Airport in Devon, England...

 services to Kirkwall
Kirkwall
Kirkwall is the biggest town and capital of Orkney, off the coast of northern mainland Scotland. The town is first mentioned in Orkneyinga saga in the year 1046 when it is recorded as the residence of Rögnvald Brusason the Earl of Orkney, who was killed by his uncle Thorfinn the Mighty...

 and Sumburgh
Sumburgh
Sumburgh may refer to various places near the southern extremity of mainland Shetland in Scotland:* Sumburgh Head, a headland* Sumburgh Airport, the islands' main air terminal* Sumburgh, Shetland, a small settlement...

 will first be operated by the once daily flight to Edinburgh
Edinburgh
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, the second largest city in Scotland, and the eighth most populous in the United Kingdom. The City of Edinburgh Council governs one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas. The council area includes urban Edinburgh and a rural area...

 and then be operated by Loganair
Loganair
Loganair is a Scottish airline with its registered office on the grounds of Glasgow International Airport and in Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland. Loganair operates scheduled services under a Flybe franchise in mainland Scotland and to Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles. In addition it operates...

 to the onward destinations.

Polar Helicopters are based at Kent International Airport and have their own hangar near the cargo terminal. They operate a small fleet of helicopters for charter and VIP services.

Lithuanian charter operator Small Planet Airlines are operating a number of services to Dubrovnik, Naples, Porto, Funchal (Madeira) and Verona (Including the Venetian Riviera) from Kent International on behalf of Newmarket Holidays for the 2011 season using Boeing 737
Boeing 737
The Boeing 737 is a short- to medium-range, twin-engine narrow-body jet airliner. Originally developed as a shorter, lower-cost twin-engine airliner derived from Boeing's 707 and 727, the 737 has developed into a family of nine passenger models with a capacity of 85 to 215 passengers...

 aircraft. Recently announced are some selected departures in the Summer months to Funchal (Madeira) with specialist operator Atlantic Holidays to be operated by the established UK charter airline Monarch Airlines
Monarch Airlines
Monarch Airlines, often shortened to and trading as Monarch, is a British charter and scheduled airline based at London Luton Airport in Luton. It is one of the United Kingdom's largest charter airlines, operating to Europe, the United States, the Caribbean, India and Africa, serving mainly leisure...

 using their Airbus A320 aircraft. Madeira has become a firm favorite over the last few years from Kent International Airport and it is hoped that further frequent departures will be added for the Summer 2012 season owing to its popularity. It is also hoped that an established tour operator could be sought for Summer 2012 to add further departures to the likes of Palma (Mallorca), Faro (Portugal), Malta, Corfu, Cyprus and Turkey using 'W pattern' or foreign based charter operators on a frequent weekly basis.
Iran Air will use Manston as a fuel stop for flight 710 from Heathrow to Tehran, due to fuel disputes in London.

Constraints

Manston has only one runway with its flight path directly crossing Ramsgate
Ramsgate
Ramsgate is a seaside town in the district of Thanet in east Kent, England. It was one of the great English seaside towns of the 19th century and is a member of the ancient confederation of Cinque Ports. It has a population of around 40,000. Ramsgate's main attraction is its coastline and its main...

, a seaside resort
Seaside resort
A seaside resort is a resort, or resort town, located on the coast. Where a beach is the primary focus for tourists, it may be called a beach resort.- Overview :...

 of some 40,000 residents. The town is situated about 1 km (0.621372736649807 mi) from the eastern end of the runway. To one side of the runway lies the village of Cliffsend
Cliffsend
Cliffsend is a village and civil parish situated almost west of Ramsgate, Kent, United Kingdom, in the Thanet local government district.Hengist and Horsa landed near here in 410AD, and St Augustine in 597.Pegwell Bay Country Park is located here...

 where housing stands within 200 m (656.2 ft) of the runway. Manston village stands to the north east of the passenger terminal.

Manston and the other UK Infratil-owned airport, continue to run at a loss. In May this year, following Infratil's annual report, it was reported in the New Zealand press that 'Infratil's European Airports' losses grew from £9million to £11 million in the preceding year'.

Airlines and destinations

= denotes charter airlines and their destinations

Cargo airlines

Accidents and incidents

  • On 18 September 1948, a RAF de Havilland Mosquito
    De Havilland Mosquito
    The de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito was a British multi-role combat aircraft that served during the Second World War and the postwar era. It was known affectionately as the "Mossie" to its crews and was also nicknamed "The Wooden Wonder"...

     crashed during an air show being held at RAF Manston, killing both crew and ten members of the public.
  • On 11 August 2010, Douglas DC-8-63F
    Douglas DC-8
    The Douglas DC-8 is a four-engined narrow-body passenger commercial jet airliner, manufactured from 1958 to 1972 by the Douglas Aircraft Company...

     YA-VIC of Kam Air
    Kam Air
    Kam Air is an airline headquartered in the Kabul Business Centre in Shah-e-Naw, Kabul, Afghanistan. It operates scheduled domestic passenger services and international services to the Middle East and several Asian republics...

     suffered a tailstrike
    Tailstrike
    Tailstrike is an aviation term that describes an event in which the rear end of an aircraft touches the runway. This can happen during takeoff of a fixed-wing aircraft if the pilot pulls up too rapidly, leading to the rear end of the fuselage touching the runway. It can also occur during landing...

     on take-off from Kent International Airport, destroying an approach light. The aircraft was operating an international cargo flight from Manston to Buenos Aires
    Buenos Aires
    Buenos Aires is the capital and largest city of Argentina, and the second-largest metropolitan area in South America, after São Paulo. It is located on the western shore of the estuary of the Río de la Plata, on the southeastern coast of the South American continent...

    , Argentina
    Argentina
    Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

     via the Cape Verde Islands. The incident was caused by the aircraft being overweight, due to excess fuel having been uploaded, making the aircraft 25700 pounds (11,657.3 kg) overweight. After being informed of the tailstrike, the crew continued the flight to the Cape Verde Islands, where inspection revealed that a tailstrike had occurred, although the tailstrike indicator was within limits. The incident was investigated by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch
    Air Accidents Investigation Branch
    The Air Accidents Investigation Branch investigates air accidents in the United Kingdom. It is a branch of the Department for Transport and is based on the grounds of Farnborough Airport near Aldershot, Rushmoor, Hampshire.-History:...

    , which made four safety recommendations. A direct result of the incident, Kam Air were banned from operating within the European Union
    European Union
    The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

    . The three crew involved were dismissed, and Kam Air announced that it would withdraw its two DC-8s from service.

See also

  • List of RAF stations
  • United States Air Forces in Europe
    United States Air Forces in Europe
    The United States Air Forces in Europe is the United States Air Force component of U.S. European Command, a Department of Defense unified command, and is one of two Air Force Major Commands outside of the continental United States, the other being the Pacific Air Forces...

  • United States Air Force in the United Kingdom
    United States Air Force in the United Kingdom
    Since 1941 the United States has maintained air bases in the United Kingdom. Major Commands of the USAF having bases in the United Kingdom were the United States Air Forces in Europe , Strategic Air Command , and Air Mobility Command .-Origins:...


External links

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