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Tony Freudmann Discusses the Save Manston Airport Association

Tony Freudmann
Feb 11, 2019 · 3 min read
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The Manston Airport is a historical site located in Kent, England.

The Save Manston Airport Association (SMAa) is a non-for-profit grassroots organization comprised of thousands of passionate and dedicated Thanet and Kent residents, whose mission is to establish the reinstatement of flights at Manston Airport.

A Long History

Manston Airport was abruptly shut down in 2014 after nearly 100 years of use as: an RAF airfield and training school during World War One and World War Two; a United States Air Force strategic command base during the 1950s; a commercial airport (joint RAF-commercial until 1969 and then 100% commercial afterwards) that welcomed more than 700,000 passengers each year in the 1970s; and as a cargo hub in the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s. Throughout its history, Manston Airport also hosted popular airshows that commenced in 1988 and ended in 2013.

Membership in the SMAa is free, and the organisation maintains a highly active website at, and Facebook page. Members and non-members are welcome to freely post their views on Manston Airport’s future, provided that they do so in a civilized and respectful manner, avoid all forms of bullying and hate-speech, and refrain from swearing or derogatory posts. To facilitate open discussion the SMAa is a-party political, and comments that violate this rule are quickly removed.

The SMAa does not receive any funds from the government, and is supported by donations, as well as from selling branded merchandise such as SMAa lapel badges, banners, car stickers, and t-shirts. Members are also invited to contact the SMAa if they have relevant items to sell, such as banners, posters, wristbands and bunting.

While Manston Airport is one of the UK’s most historic airfields, the work that the SMAa has been doing for several years is not inspired by some nostalgic homage to the past — it is all about enabling economic benefits in the near-term and long-term future on multiple levels, including job creation, supporting local businesses, and fostering regional development.

Benefits of the Manston Airport

  • Job creation: When Manston Airport was shut down in 2014, 144 hard working and dedicated people lost their jobs. Reviving the airport would create hundreds of quality, permanent and well-paying jobs, and indirectly create many more jobs in Thanet, Kent, and the surrounding area.
  • Support local businesses: Reviving Manston Airport would be a major boon to local businesses, which could use the ideally-located facility to ship and receive goods. It would measurably lower their logistics and supply chain costs, which would in turn support local expansion and drive more job creation.
  • Fostering regional development: Reviving Manston Airport would convince more people to remain in and relocate to Thanet and Kent, which in turn would increase tax revenues, increase property values, and support further economic activity, development and investment.

While there have been many ups and downs on the journey, the hard work of SMAa supporters — along with other like-minded grassroots organisations — may be on the cusp of finally paying off. here is still a lot of work to be done, and the development consent application process is complex and multi-faceted. However, there is cause for cautious optimism now that key stakeholders are grasping that the substantial benefits of reviving Manston Airport far offset the potential drawbacks.

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