London set to get its seventh airport by 2023

Jul 10, 2020

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The U.K. government has approved the development of a seventh London airport. The currently disused airstrip, known as Manston International Airport until 2014, has been bought by RiverOak Strategic Partners, which is planning on developing the space into a fully operational airport by 2023. If it does go ahead, it will join London’s Heathrow, Gatwick, Southend, Stansted, City and Luton airports, with the code MSE.

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Before Manston was closed down in 2014, KLM operated scheduled flights between the airport and its hub at Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS).

Manston Airport in Kent as a 45 day consultation period is currently underway to determine to future of the airport. (Photo by Gareth Fuller/PA Images via Getty Images)
Inside the old Manston Airport (Photo by Gareth Fuller/PA Images via Getty Images)

At a distance of over 70 miles, it’s the farthest airport from the center of London, meaning it’s not likely to be a Londoner’s first choice. Heathrow is only 19 miles away, and even Luton and Southend, the most distant from the city, are under 40 miles. For those living in Kent, however, the airport will likely be a popular choice.

While the current plan is to have scheduled short-haul commercial and private jet flights, the main aim for the airport is to create a global freight hub that is able to handle 10,000 cargo movements per year.

“Once built, Manston will be one of the most modern, efficient and environmentally friendly freight hubs in the world”, Director of RiverOak Strategic Partners Tony Freudmann told the BBC.

As usual with plans for developments in the aviation industry, the airport has come against some opposition. Among the opposers is Anne Marie Nixey of No Night Flights, a group against the introduction of night flights in the Thanet and Kent area.

“It’s going to blight two towns at either end of the runway, it’s a failed airport and has been for over 15 years, run by a company with no particular airport experience”, Nixey said.

Related: Heathrow’s third runway delayed until 2028-2029

Though the government has officially given the go-ahead for the development of the new airport, the decision could still be overruled if it is sufficiently challenged before the end of a six-week deadline.

Featured image by Gareth Fuller/Getty Images

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