Business leaders in fresh call for Manston expansion

Business leaders have made a fresh call for a Kent airport to be permitted to operate night flights ahead of a public consultation.

Thanet and East Chamber of Commerce said Manston needed to show there was a "business-friendly environment".

The airline Flybe announced last month it would stop using Manston from March due to a lack of passenger demand.

Opponents said the airport's expansion would not bring the economic benefits its operators have promised.

'Modest proposals'

The proposal is for three flights to be allowed between 23:00 and 23:30, two flights between 23:30 and 06:00 and three between 06:00 and 07:00.

A study commissioned by the airport has claimed night flying could see more than 3,000 jobs created at the airport.

David Foley, who chairs the chamber of commerce, said the airport had a catchment area of about 9.3 million people living within two hours of it.

He said: "There's a good market there. Manston can be made to work just with these modest proposals for night flights."

Phil Rose, a founder member of the No Night Flights campaign group, said: "The thousands of jobs that Manston talks about are completely unrealistic."

Thanet District Council is to hold a public consultation on the proposals later this year.

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