Thursday 28 December 2017

shelling out

I published a blog on the 29th March 2017 (link here) detailing the facts that the ownership of the company that is applying for a Development Consent Order (DCO) on the former Manston site is rather murky and little has changed since. So to clarify where we are today as the DCO, which was due to be placed before National Planning in the Autumn 2017, has been delayed yet again.

The Company, Riveroak Strategic Partners Ltd (RSP Ltd), seems on the face of it to be a Special Purpose Enterprise/ Shell Company with the true ownership hidden away in Belize. See diagram below.
As you can see the ownership is 90% M.I.O. Investments held incognito in the British Territory of Belize. Why you might wonder?
"Said companies are legally mandated to carry out any international transactions as long as they do it by the book. They have certain privileges too, and one of them includes being allowed not to pay taxes within the country of operation. In addition to that, such an institution is not required to disclose the names and contacts of its owners or the intricate details of its operations." Link here
From SHP's solicitors letter dated 13/11/2017

It is also clear that Stone Hill Park (SHP) is clearly losing patience with the ongoing DCO saga which is interfering with the aims of the owners of SHP, Trevor Cartner and Chris Musgrave, who would like this sorry saga to go away.
From Pinsent Mason's letter to National Planning on 13/11/2017
It is also clear that RSP is sailing close to the wind with Companies House as their recent declaration concerning who exerts "Significant Control" is somewhat confusing.

"The Company knows or has reasonable cause to believe there is no registrable person or registrable legal entity in relation to the Company"

The advice at Companies House clearly states the following:
 Clearly the share ownership says the "legal entity" M.I.O. Investments has 90% ownership of RSP Ltd so why do the legal filing not disclose this fact?

All in all it is apparent that the DCO and who is actually controlling it is cloudy in the extreme and despite this many of the stalwarts in the supporters ranks are discerning enough to ask the appropriate questions. If SHP decide to recover their costs then it is apparent they will struggle to find any assets to claim the monies from as currently it appears RSP have no visible assets.

Saturday 2 December 2017

Finally the light dawns

Briefly, when Ann Gloag shut the airport in 2014 various groups formed to campaign to get the airport reinstated. The main groups were "Supporters of Manston Airport (SuMA)" run by a small group let by Ruth Brackstone-Bailey. The other main supporter group was "Save Manston Airport (SMA)" set up by Keith Churcher and Daniel Light. Over the 3 years since the leadership of SMA  changed and then after an internal civil war reverted back to Dan & Keith with the others forming a new group "Save Manston Airport Association (SMAa)" under Beau Webber and John Pritchard.

Recently it has become apparent that both SuMA and SMA have lost confidence in Riveroak Strategic Partners (RSP), still run by Anthony Freudmann, especially after RSP failed to convince the public at their "consultations" and the mauling Dr. Sally Dixon received over her "proof" a cargo hub was a viable option for Manston. It didn't help that Dr Dixon used two York Aviation reports to reinforce her "proof". This proof was promptly savaged by the original authors who said "Dr Dixon failed to understand the conclusions of our reports and misrepresented the conclusions".

Stone Hill Park (SHP) have altered their plans for the site to include 1199m of runway as heritage with up to 2000M not to be built beside, which means that those who support aviation get what they want as well as those who do not want a 24/7 cargo Hub not getting a polluting, noisy unprofitable land grab.

Finally both SuMA and SMA have come to the same conclusion isolating SMAa as a blinkered group supporting Freudmann at the expense of both coastal towns of Ramsgate and Herne Bay.

Then SuMA posted this
It does seem that finally it has dawned on some airport supporters that RSP's plans are impossible to believe and with the DCO not being submitted in November as promised due to doubts about their "consultation" process people are beginning to wonder if they will ever submit a DCO.
Stone Hill Park certainly believe their DCO is flawed and RSP know it.

It is worth mentioning here that some "die hard" supporters are using the word traitor towards both Keith and Ruth but then abusing people is par for the course when you go against the "cult" of Manston.

Further developments are that several "investors" are circling around RSP tasting blood in the water. It is doubtful these are anything other than chancers however they have a certain cabal within the UKIP ranks who sense an opportunity in delaying the Local Plan because they believe that a change of use from "Aviation Only" to "Mixed use" would price the land out of the wallets of these other chancers.
Dale seems to be a middle man however watching him comment on Manston Pickle's Facebook page you might be forgiven for thinking he was a child.
This gentleman seems to be a non-starter seeing as he has just got out of jail after serving half of a 5 year jail sentence for committing a fraud. Details here

It does seem now the blinkered support for Freudmann seems to only remain in the few that reside on the SMAa Facebook page as well as the Tory MP's Gale and Mackinlay along with the Councillors (Tory) who seem to want the Local plan to fail which will mean the Tories will increase the number of houses that have to be supported on the Local Plan, which unfortunately will have to go on Green Field sites.

It doesn't however stop the abuse from continuing especially within SMAa and also on Paul Joseph Messenger's FB page. Whether he fails to monitor his own timeline or basically doesn't care doesn't matter as an elected official he is supposed to adhere to the Nolan Principles, something he probably has never read.
This is the latest

Sunday 26 November 2017

Paul Joseph Messenger

It does seem that politics and campaigning seem to merge into farce at times and the current Ramsgate KCC Councillor, Paul Joseph Messenger, seems to be proving the point. Not content to be getting a regular pasting on We Love Ramsgate Facebook page (his words) he has decided to prove the point by agreeing that Southampton Airport is in a far better geographical position than Manston ever was.

He posted this on his timeline
Actually what this author actually said to him was this:
So I repeat 1. I am not against planes 2. I am against Freudmann. A man who was struck off as a practicing solicitor for misappropriation of his clients monies. A man who has NEVER run a successful airport and a man who has somewhat dubious business practices.

So all this "support" on your page is somewhat ironic seeing as all it does is give some rather dubious individuals the opportunity to insult this author. Is this really what you want to be remembered for, inciting abusive comments?

So let us use some facts to compare Manston and Southampton airports.


In 1932 Southampton Corporation purchased the site and it became Southampton Municipal Airport. By 1935, part of the site was being used by the RAF and was briefly known as RAF Eastleigh before it became RAF Southampton in 1936. It passed back into civilian ownership in April 1946.
During the 1950s a mainstay of business for the airport was the cross-channel car ferry service operated by Silver City Airways.
Donated to the war effort in 1915 it became an RN station until being transferred to the RAF in 1917. After WW2 it was taken over by the USAAF until circa 1959 when the RAF took it back. In 1959 Silver City Airways had an enclave operating a cross channel car ferry service.



Unfortunately Manston was bankrupted in 2005 when the money ran out (and who was in charge Anthony Freudmann)


The airport lies in Eastleigh at the junction of the M27 and M3 right next to a railhead and Parkway station. The catchment area exceeds 3M people covering Southampton, Portsmouth, Winchester, Basingstoke and numerous small towns on the South Coast. Although there is a rival airport at Bournemouth Hurn there are far more routes at Southampton.
The airport lies at the end of the Thanet Way 35 miles away from the nearest Motorway. The catchment area comprises the North Kent Coastal Towns of Medway, Whitstable, Herne Bay along with Canterbury and Ashford. At its best there were few routes for passengers and probably the most successful was KLM with its Cityhopper service(which at best was only 50% full in a 78 seat Fokker aircraft. There is no dedicated Rail Service.

In summary Southampton has been successful simply because it is better located, with better transport links, and a far bigger catchment area.
Manston simply cannot compete with everything Southampton has however despite what Messenger says This author isn't promoting Southampton over Manston because there simply is no comparison.

For all those that wonder whether airplanes are the problem then think on these taken from the garden.

To make it 100% clear Freudmann is the issue not Manston however using the position of KCC Councillor to smear someone who simply has a difference of opinion is abuse.

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.