WHY NOT MANSTON?
1. Chairman Nicholas Reed began the meeting by introducing our special guests, Charles Buchanan, CEO of Manston Airport and David Foley, Chairman of Thanet and East Kent Chamber of Commerce as well as members of the WNM? Committee.
2. Charles Buchanan said he couldn’t really say much about future plans for the airport other than that it was about to be sold to Ann Gloag, co-founder of Stagecoach through Lothian Shelf Ltd for the sum of £1.00. Completion should be at the end of November. Ms Gloag is a well known business woman and sees a vibrant, successful future for Manston.
Mr. Buchanan spoke of the success of the KLM flights, the 1040 flight being the most popular especially at weekends. Long haul flights were increasingly being booked and we should spread the news that Manston is the perfect place from which to fly to Rio for the World Cup and the rest of the world.
The South East Airshow was, overall, a great success with 30,000 people having a wonderful day out. It is hoped to hold the event again in June 2014 – no date yet.
Manston has recently been used for training crews on the A380 and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The size of the runway means it can handle the world’s largest aircraft.
New business has emerged handling beans from Africa. This involves a 7 day-a-week clearance process and Manston has the certificates and organization to cope with this procedure.
The Davies Report on options for enhancing airport capacity in the South East has an interim report due at the end of 2013 with the final report due in 2015. Manston is in a good position to offer relief landing space. It is here already instead of building an Estuary airport at a cost of £40 – £100 billion.
Heathrow is trading at 99.8% capacity, Gatwick at over 85%. The new owner is extremely optimistic about Manston.
Questions were invited:
Q. Will Bristowe’s be bringing an Air Sea Rescue service back to Manston ?
A. Yes, through the MoD. There will be 22 stations nationwide and Manston will be having one of the first in 2015
Q. Why was the service to Jersey axed?
A. That was up to the company providing the service. Manston would welcome another company taking it on.
Q. Why not more advertising in the Deal area.
A. Manston/KLM spends a lot more on advertising than previous companies – it is hard to get right.
Q. What is happening at Norwich regarding KLM?
A Norwich has the UK KLM engineering base. They began with 2 KLM flights many years ago and now have 4 a day.
Q. Cargo flights – what is the growth trajectory?
A. There are 11 or 12 flights a week. Mostly 747s, the larger types, with produce from Africa. This has been growing with a slight dip this year due to being seasonal produce, but overall it is going up.
Q Why did Infratil walk away? What about Lydd?
A. Infratil has many activities in New Zealand producing better returns short term.
Lydd – even if it expands it will be much smaller than Manston and has a different market.
3. David Foley congratulated Mr. Buchanan for keeping things going well in a recession.
He was very enthusiastic about the future of Manston and Thanet in general. He said Bell Helicopters are delighted with their building at airport. Employment in Thanet is down 8.6%. This area is the place to invest in now, what with the airport, Discovery Park and Manston Green. The latter being supported by TDC, who are also in favour of a parkway station at the cost of £10/15 million.
The Chamber of Commerce has a panel of experts who will give advice to any start- up businesses in the area. If all these firms can support local businesses instead of sourcing goods from out of the area, the future is looking rosy.
4. Treasurer’s Report.
The Treasurer gave a short presentation and stated that group funding was wholly dependent upon membership fees, kind supporter donations (financial or practical) and any receipts arising from events where the group had a presence, such as the Manston Air Show in June this year.
Through careful and considered use of available funding, since the A.G.M. In March, the group had been able to:
- Update the website
- Print and distribute advertising cards and flyers
- Cover costs for a stand at Manston Airshow 2013 in June
- Purchase advertising banners for group stands
- Cover costs for a stand at the Ramsgate ‘Thanet at War’ 2013 event in July
- Cover Administrative and Operating costs of Group Activities
In an effort to improve and stabilise group income and streamline payment processes, a number of suggestions were currently being considered. These include:
- The institution of an Annual Membership Fee – £10.00
- The institution of a Business Sponsorship Option – £25.00
- Payment through the group PayPal account, using the email – email@example.com
- The creation of a Direct Debit Payment facility (now changed to a Standing Order option)
- Direct BACS payment to the group bank account
The group hopes to be able to have a presence at future events, such as: the eagerly anticipated Manston Air Show 2014 scheduled for a possible two days in June 2014, the anticipated ‘Thanet at War’ Event in July 2014, a possible Folkestone Airshow: provisionally scheduled for 7th and 8th June 2014 and any other suitable event opportunities that may arise.
In explanation of the Group Income and Expenditure Account for the period April to October 2013, total receipts amounted to £196.00 and expenses totalled £443.00. The account was therefore shown to have a debit balance of £247.00 over the period. Thus said, the overall accounts were said to be sound, the group having a liquid asset credit balance of some £222.00. (all totals rounded down)
The treasurer closed the presentation thanking the meeting for their support and reiterated the need for further support in the future.
A number of questions were put to the treasurer:
Q. It was suggested that a direct link for membership payment from the website be considered.
A. The treasurer agreed to research the issue and reply at a later date either personally or in writing.
(A ‘Donations’ radio button has been embedded in the web pages to facilitate this function)
Q. Was it not the case that the Direct Debit system was unpopular and that people tended to stay away from that option as much as possible, favouring the ‘Standing Order’ system in preference?.
A. A very understandable question and one with which the treasurer had sympathy. He stated that he, personally, tended not to use the Direct Debit system as it tended to remove the control of personal outgoings from the account owner. The Direct Debit system was one of several payment options under consideration.
Nicholas ended the meeting by thanking our speakers and all those in the audience for attending. He also thanked the management of Baypoint profusely for their generosity in donating this excellent venue.
The meeting ended at 8.25 pm.