Thursday, 17 August 2017

Why Manston will not be a cargo hub anytime soon

Following on from the last blog LINK

We will now examine what makes a freight hub and why Manston cannot work. This report relies upon a report compiled by:- 

Lucy Budd BA, MSc, PhD*, Stephen Ison BA, MA, PhD, MCILT* and Thomas Budd BSc, PhD**


*Transport Studies Group

School of Civil and Building Engineering

Loughborough University


LE11 3TU


**Department of Air Transport

Cranfield University


MK43 0TR

Developing air cargo operations at regional airports: a case study of East Midlands Airport, UK.

It is interesting as to how this compares to the report compiled by Dr. Sally Dixon who it seems also has a connection to Cranfield but fails to take this report into account when writing her report on the future of a cargo hub at Manston.

"The paper concludes by identifying elements of best practice and examining the extent to which the development of successful cargo operations at EMA could serve as a model for other regional airports worldwide that are seeking to develop complementary passenger and freight services."

 These are as follows

"From its opening in April 1965 as a commercial facility, East Midlands Airport has actively sought to encourage the development of air cargo through a series of strategic planning and management interventions. Successive public and private owners have recognised the need to develop a comprehensive yet complementary range of passenger services during the day and cargo operations at night."

So to be clear East Midlands thrives because it operates 24/7/365, daytime is passengers and night time it is freight.

"The airport’s single 2,893 x 60m (9,492 x 197ft) east/west grooved flexible asphalt runway has an International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Pavement Classification Number (PCN) of 78/F/C/W/T. This means the runway’s load bearing capacity is sufficient to safely support operations by all major commercial aircraft up to and including the An-124, B747-400F and Antonov 225"

To be clear Manston's runway is unable to handle the most common long haul freight aircraft the Boeing 747-400F unless the aircraft is less than full.

"In December 2003, the UK Government’s ‘Future of Air Transport White Paper’ recognised the national importance of developing passenger and freight services at EMA and predicted that the airport could be handling over 12 million passengers and 2.5 million metric tonnes of cargo on 60,000 cargo flights a year by 2030"

Current airfreight at EMA is almost 300,000 metric tonnes(as of 2013) so capacity is still available.

"Whereas Heathrow and Gatwick (and, to a lesser extent, Manchester) are relatively capacity and slot constrained and have strict operating conditions that prevent full 24-hour flight operations, East Midlands and Stansted currently have spare capacity and EMA has an unrestricted 24-hour operating licence. This allows EMA to serve passenger aircraft during the day and freight aircraft at night. Heathrow and Gatwick on the other hand, owing to the absence of slots and more restricted hours of operation, see virtually all of their air cargo arrive in the holds of scheduled passenger services. In addition, East Midlands and Stansted offer further advantages for cargo operators. Both are located in more rural areas of the country where land is cheaper and relatively fewer people are affected by aircraft noise; both are surrounded by greenfield sites which could be made available for future expansion (subject to planning permission); both are located near major trunk roads for ease of delivery and onward distribution and both are now owned and operated by the same company – Manchester Airports Group (MAG). EMA has the added advantage of being centrally located within the UK near the intersection of major north-south and east-west trunk roads."

So to be clear the East Midlands airport operates an unrestricted 24 hour licence handling passengers during the day and freight during the night. East Midlands and Stanstead offer a significant advantage as they operate in a rural environment (unlike Manston which has towns at both ends of the runway albeit Herne Bay is further away than Ramsgate). Both EMA and Stanstead are located near major trunk roads, EMA also has the advantage of being centrally located near the intersection of Major Trunk Roads.

The history of the East Midlands is eerily similar to Manston but it comes as no surprise to realise that EMA has much more going for it that ever Manston had bearing in mind where Manston is located compared to EMA and for RSP and Sally Dixon to ignore Manston's geographical location is bemusing. It is true however you get what you pay for in this world.

"The origins of aviation at EMA can be traced back to 1916 when Castle Donington airfield was established to serve the needs of 38 Squadron in their defence of Midlands’ airspace during World War One. Abandoned after the declaration of the Armistice, the site was subsequently redeveloped as a military airfield with a hard-surfaced runway during the Second World War before being closed for a second time in 1946. In late 1947, the site was acquired by the UK’s Ministry of Civil Aviation as part of the new National Airport Plan which sought to concentrate passenger services at a few key airports (see Sealy, 1976). By the mid-1950s it was apparent that the existing municipal airport serving the East Midlands at Burnaston near Derby was becoming obsolete as the grass runways could not support the weight of the new post-war commercial aircraft that were being introduced.

The need for a replacement facility was first articulated by the Corporation of Nottingham who, together with a consortium of Local Authorities, formed a Joint Airport Committee (JAC). After evaluating a number of potential sites, the JAC decided that the abandoned airfield at Castle Donington should be developed as Burnaston’s successor (Walker, 2005). It was thought that the site offered significant development potential as it lay roughly equidistant between the region’s three major cities of Leicester, Derby and Nottingham, boasted favourable flying conditions and, most importantly, was adjacent to the proposed London-Leeds M1 motorway, the first section of which opened in November 1959. From its inception, the new facility was promoted as a ‘Motorway Airport’ with the supporting local authorities demonstrating an early appreciation of the future strategic importance of fast, easy and efficient road access to the airport’s commercial future (Rowley, 1965). The initial planning application was submitted in 1960, construction commenced in spring 1964 and the new East Midlands Airport (EMA) opened for commercial civilian operations on April 1st 1965.

It does seem surprising that someone who gained some qualifications from Cranfield seems to totally ignore the advantages that EMA has compared to the disadvantages that beset Manston.

What of Stanstead Airport? Well here are the key facts that Stanstead advertise and it is uncanny how many seem to have made it into Sally Dixon's report especially the equine information.

Key facts
  • Handling around 230,000 tonnes annually, Stansted Airport is the the UK’s 3rd largest cargo airport and London’s premier pure cargo gateway.
  • The airport is operational 24/7/365
  • Fire fighting category 7 with CAT 8, 9 & 10 available by request
  • Stansted’s dedicated cargo stands can simultaneously accommodate 4 x A380, 3 x B747-8F, 1 x B747-400F and 1 X B767-300
  • Stansted’s 3,049 metre runway offers full intercontinental capability and provides full CAT IIIb ILS protection
  • With 120,000 remaining spare slots London Stansted is the only major London airport with capacity to support the immediate growth of the UK’s aviation sector
  • Stansted’s proximity to LHR makes it ideal for combi carriers wishing to supplement bellyhold capacity with maindeck freighter traffic
  • The airport’s south-eastern location allows reduced flying time from Asia, Europe and Africa
  • 27% of the UK’s pure freight is flown to or from Stansted
  • 21% of the UK’s pure mail is flown to or from Stansted
  • 8% of the UK’s total air cargo volumes are flown to or from Stansted
  • London Stansted handles in excess of £8bn in trade value annually
  • Experienced cargo handling companies on-site
  • Significant land availability for future development
  • At the heart of UK bloodstock sector with Newmarket just 30 miles away, Stansted is the primary UK gateway for some of the world’s finest race horses and polo ponies

 So far from cargo slots being restricted it seems that with 120,000 spare slots available it does seem awfully strange that Sally Dixon fails to note this in her extensive report.

Finally it does seem somewhat odd that the Save Manston Airport association publish a "myth Buster" when the only myth's that need busting are those put into the ether by Tony Freudmann. I do wonder why they feel it necessary to defend themselves against the lies put out by RSP but each to their own. The only thing SMAa are good at is abusive comments and acting as some sort of cult.
Point one: It is irrelevant what SMAa want it is RSP and the Freight Forwarders that will determine night flights. SMAa will not be running an airport if it re-opens.
Point two: As SMAa has failed to publish accounts since inception who knows where the money comes from.
Point 3: If it is ever submitted. Promises were made over a year ago and the timetable has slipped ever since.
Point 4: No prospective suitor has ever produced verifiable proof they have the money to re-open Manston and that includes any fronted by Tony Freudmann.
Point 5: This is funny as they have never supported anyone other than the Tories, in fact they have abused both Labour and UKIP on a regular basis.
Point 6: London City airport isn't a cargo hub. The two main Cargo hubs outside of the big two both handle freight during the night.
Point 7: RSP have no aviation experience bar Tony Freudmann who failed miserably in 2005 losing many local shareholders vast sums of money.


  1. These facts on the cargo hub and many other facts both known and unknown will come in very handy if RSP/Freudmann managed to get that Manston land for the airoprt hub for when that plot fails this will be used as one of the reasons 'figures ect' for why it failed and poor old Mr Freudmann and the secrect friends will be left with land and the only option will be to sell off to developers,๐ŸŒœ✈๐Ÿก๐ŸŒ›Bingo.

  2. Barry James, I see one of the admins on Smaa, Liam Coyle, is having a whinge that you have blocked him. Well what did he expect as I see he took personal stuff from your timeline and posted it on another facebook group where we all know the admin on there, John Davis, allows personal abuse. A group where the people of Ramsgate have donated money into the fighting fund. All I can say is, Anti's tighten up your security settings otherwise those lowlifes on Smaa will stoop so low and take photo's from your timelines for their own amusements. Utter scum

    1. I saw that on a Chris Wells post and thought WTF is the admin allowing personal attacks and the steal of someones timeline is immoral. Who the F**k do they think they are. This smacks of desperation.

    2. Hi Barry, I'm a member of the facebook page run by John Davis and have donated to the fighting fund because I care about Ramsgate and the Port. I am deeply saddened to see that personal abuse is allowed on there which has nothing to do with 'RAG'.I shall not be donating anymore of my hard earned money to the cause. I would also like to see Manston reinstated as an airport but do not want a cargo hub. I am not a member of any airport group because of all the vitriol that goes with it. .

  3. Is it true the air pollution monitoring was removed by TDC?

    1. Yes 10:26 from about 3 months after Infratil purchased Manston in 2004 and continuing through the Gloag sale. The monitors were removed but claimed to be there and working. So, it gets worse, every monthly TDC airport committee was lying to the public about the air pollution.

      Even now TDC refuse to make a public statement.

      The fines for air pollution are missing and would be a huge TDC tax contribution.

    2. How much cancer/asthma etc is likely from the air pollution monitors not being there?

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. 09:33 this is very serious - who was responsible for removing the monitors and lying to the public?