Sir Roger Gale
Member of Parliament for North Thanet (Margate, Herne Bay & The Villages)
Airport Capacity – The UK needs Manston
December 17th 2013
“How will we fill the twenty – year gap in airport capacity in the South East”? That is the question being posed this morning by North Thanet`s MP Sir Roger Gale. Speaking following the publication of the interim findings of Sir Howard Davies` investigations the MP said: “We can agonise for ever over the merits of another runway at Heathrow, another runway at Gatwick, more capacity at Stansted or `Boris Island` but the fact of the matter is that we are losing business to mainland Europe now. Unless we release capacity at Europe`s premier airport – Heathrow – immediately then concerns about where to build in the future will be academic because the traffic and the trade will have moved to Schiphol, Paris Charles de Gaulle or even Dubai. It will take years to get runways built at Heathrow or Gatwick and an Island airport is pie in the sky for the foreseeable future. We therefore have to use the facilities that are available immediately to take some of the peripheral freight and package-tour pressure of Gatwick to in turn relieve Heathrow. That means using Manston – an airfield that is, in travelling time, potentially closer to Central London than Heathrow and is available immediately. I fear that unless we recognise the immediate concern and bridge the gap the long-term “solution” may be irrelevant because the fight for this vital business will have been lost”.