RiverOak responds to Transport Select Committee Report


RiverOak responds to Transport Select Committee Report

RiverOak investment Corp. welcomes the thorough and detailed report published today by the Transport Select Committee, following its inquiry into Smaller Airports and special session focusing on Manston Airport.

Chief Executive “Stephen DeNardo said: “We particularly welcome the recommendations for a clear and expeditious timetable for the review of the Manston CPO paperwork, by DfT-appointed consultants and hope that the appointment and review process can be expedited swiftly in order to prevent further, unnecessary delays in determining Manston’s future. Our position is clear and unaltered: we will indemnify Thanet District Council against all financial risks associated with the CPO process.

“RiverOak remains absolutely committed to reviving Manston as an operational airport and building a thriving and profitable air cargo, aircraft recycling and reliever airport operation there for the long term benefit of not only East Kent, but users of the whole of the London airports system too.”

Latest from RiverOak 2.2.15


Submission to Transport Select Committee underlines Manston Airport’s potential as a reliever airport for congested London airspace.

Re-opening Manston Airport in Kent would provide specialist reliever runway capacity for the increasingly congested London airspace, in emergencies and when diversions are required, confirms a study commissioned for RiverOak Investment Corp.

The report, by Northolt Aviation, has been provided to the Transport Select Committee as part of RiverOak’s submission to the ‘Inquiry into Smaller Airports’ session which took place today (Monday 2nd February). RiverOak Investment Corp is seeking to become Thanet District Council’s commercial partner in a CPO process in order to revive Manston as an operating airport.

The report outlines how Manston is ideally placed to take the strain off Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted during times of severe congestion or disruption. 415 diversions were made from London airports in 2013 and the number is growing year on year as air traffic increases.

Giving evidence at the hearing, at Portcullis House in London, Squadron Leader Angela Sutton, who spent 33 years as an air traffic controller and was in charge of all emergencies in the air at the London air traffic control centre, said diversions were her “speciality” and that reopening Manston Airport was “essential”.

She said: “If Heathrow gets fogged in or if there is a problem on any one of runways, and of course Gatwick only has one,  Manston is the instant diversion. It has the capability to cope with anything.”

She said that aircraft are currently diverted to Stansted in the event of a hijack, but added: “It just destroys Stansted. It brings it to a halt totally. In Manston we have got enough space to get it out of the way, get it into corners, to surround it almost and to deal with it properly.”

Sir Roger Gale, MP for North Thanet, said Manston Airport was a “major diversion field and a resource un-replicated in the South East.”

RiverOak’s report highlights that incidents in recent years which have required a reliever runway have included heavy snowfall, volcanic dust, aircraft emergencies and flooding at Gatwick.  A more severe human incident that closed a London airport, or air traffic computer failure similar to that which occurred at the end of 2014, would also leave the South East in desperate need of reliever space.

Manston Airport’s 9,000ft (2743m) runway is the only non-military runway of that length in the South East outside of Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted. It can cater for all long haul aircraft types, including the Airbus A380, and is located in an area which benefits from high-speed rail links and motorway access to both London and France.

Manston, formerly known as Kent International Airport, played a critical role as a base for the RAF during the Battle of Britain. It was abruptly closed in May 2014. However RiverOak Investment Corp has prepared a detailed plan to run the airport primarily as a major cargo hub, with an aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility and has confirmed interest from cargo carriers and aircraft manufacturers as part of their planning.

The report also highlights the airport’s 24-hour availability and relatively low levels of passenger air traffic as supporting its suitability as a reliever airport, as is its location close to London but outside the capital’s air traffic control space. Manston is also adjacent to the coast enabling aircraft to easily fly over water to dump excess fuel before making their landing.

In addition, Manston Airport would represent an ideal reliever airport due its large apron space for equipment handling, extensive aircraft parking facilities, pre-existing passenger terminal and ground transport convenience via high-speed rail or major carriage way.

RiverOak’s submission to the Select Committee concludes: “Were the airport to be purchased, re-licensed and re-opened, as is RiverOak’s firm intention, our proposition is that it could take on a specialist role for London air traffic reliever purposes, alongside our other plans for the airport. In a relatively short space of time we could ensure that there is an asset that can provide reliever capacity over the long term to serve the London system.

“Its potential serves to underline how ill-considered it would be for the South East airports system to lose such an asset as Manston Airport, particularly before any new runway is built, and when Heathrow and Gatwick are running so close to theoretical maximum capacity and with the prospect that Stansted – and even Luton – will be approaching such capacity by the time a new runway is open.

“Of course, even after a new “London” runway is built, the additional volume in the system will, we believe, further underline the long-term strategic value of an airfield such as Manston.

“It seems important, therefore, that the Government should not remain agnostic on this issue, and as such would be grateful for the Transport Select Committee support in advocating Manston’s value.”

RiverOak has already proposed to the Transport Select Committee’s inquiry into smaller airports that there should be an amendment to existing legislation obliging owners who intend to close an airport to consult with the interested parties as mentioned in the Civil Aviation Act 1982; the imposition of a cooling off period of 12 months to enable further consultation to take place and, during that time, the prevention of asset stripping or other disposal of key airport equipment.


Please respond to the consultation regarding Thanet Parkway Railway Station

Your views are being sought in regard to the new Thanet Parkway railway station – originally called Manston Parkway!
KCC seem determined that Manston Airport is closed and instead would prefer a huge business park and housing.
Please respond by saying that it will only be welcomed in association with the re-opening of the airport and not to service an unsustainable suburban sprawl



Please respond to the draft Local Plan


The Thanet Local Plan will set out policies and proposals that will be used to guide decisions and investment on development and regeneration over the period to 2031. It will set out how and where homes, jobs, community facilities, shops and infrastructure will be delivered.

You can read the full local plan at:

More pro-Manston responses are needed, please email your comments to local.plans@thanet.gov.uk. Please make your response count by including the following for Manston Airport written in your own words please:

* All 700+ acres of the Manston site to remain for aviation use only.
* No mixed development or housing, even on the Northern Grassland.
* No renaming or rezoning of the area as a general opportunity site, or anything else that could jeopardise the airport’s future as an aviation site.

If you would like to complete the full Draft Local Plan consultation online instead of simply submitting comments, consult our ‘plain English’ guide at bit.ly/dothelocalplan to help simplify the process.

 A4 If you don't fight Poster

Select Committee hearing live webcast Monday 2.2.15


For those that can’t make it to Portcullis House on Monday for the Select Committee’s hearing regarding Manston Airport.
You can watch live on this link from the comfort of your own home.


select committee

A breakdown of the timings of Monday’s Select Committee hearing. is here


Ruth Bailey currently the only female PPC in Thanet South


Ruth Bailey will be representing the Manston Airport Independent Party in the 2015 General Election in the Thanet South constituency. Fighting against UKIP’s Nigel Farage and Al Murray’s Pub Landlord, among others, Ruth is currently the only female prospective parliamentary candidate in the constituency.

After the debacle last week surrounding the Ramsgate Round Table hustings in Broadstairs, which allegedly saw women being refused entry, Ruth commented that “many still view women as second class citizens, especially when it comes to politics, and that is totally unacceptable.” It was originally hoped that Ruth would have been invited to speak at the hustings as a PPC, particularly as Manston Airport has been such a crucial topic recently, but the organisers later decided against this.

Ruth, a primary school teacher and mother of three, is passionate about local initiatives and community involvement. It was therefore only natural that Ruth felt compelled to campaign against the closure of highly regarded Manston Airport. With the airport site facing the prospect of housing and an industrial estate sprawl, Ruth decided to form the Manston Airport Independent Party. Reflecting on the campaign to save Manston Airport from destruction, Ruth believes that “the closure of Manston Airport is an injustice to the people of Thanet, an injustice to those who served there in the RAF, and also a national injustice.”

She continues that she “can’t believe that Thanet District Council are being wilfully negligent in regard to the airport’s future” after the decision came not to conduct a compulsory purchase at this time.

The primary aim of the Manston Airport Independent Party is to use the platform of the General Election to raise the profile of Manston Airport in Kent and further afield. Former RAF Manston has a proud history stretching back almost 100 years but was recently closed for suburban re-development. With a large runway, uncongested airspace, extensive infrastructure and proximity to Europe we believe that the airport is ideally suited to meet UK air capacity demands now and into the future.