Freight News, Air

Manston air cargo hub gets green light

[ July 10, 2020   //   ]

The Secretary of State for Transport has given development consent to a scheme by RiverOak Strategic Partners to reopen Manston Airport, in Kent as a cargo hub. The decision was originally due to be taken in January and was postponed to May before being postponed again.

According to the Department for Transport, it would be able to handle at least 10,000 air cargo movements per year and also offering passenger, executive travel, and aircraft engineering services.

RSP said construction will begin in 2021 with the airport operating its first cargo services in the first quarter of 2023. It added that the Covid crisis hads demonstrated the fragility and inflexibility of the UK’s air cargo network, which relies almost exclusively on passenger aircraft to carry freight, as well as the urgent need to keep air freight going. It said: “It is widely accepted that demand for passenger air travel will take a number of years to return to pre-pandemic levels, if it ever does, and so building the UK’s specialist freight capacity has become even more vital.”

It would provide dedicated air freight capacity adjacent to the London airports, “free of the uncertainties that face airports reliant solely, or predominantly, on the income from passenger traffic”.

RSP director Tony Freudmann, said: “Once built, Manston will be one of the most modern, efficient and environmentally friendly freight hubs in the world, able to cater for traditional freight as well as the rapidly expanding international e-commerce sector that the UK has so heavily relied upon during the period of lock down.”