A last minute plea was made this morning (Thursday 15 May) to transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin to use his powers to keep Manston Airport technically open until a buyer is found.
Unite, the country's largest union, said that the minister should insist that Kent Airport Ltd, the airport's owner, keeps the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) license operational.
Without the CAA license the airport will technically close at 17.00 today, throwing the 140-strong workforce out of work.
Unite regional officer Ian McCoulough said: “The CAA licence is critical at this eleventh hour. Without it, Manston Airport can't function.
“We call on transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin to use his powers to insist that the airport's owners maintain the license which will make the airport more attractive to a potential buyer.
“We understand that American firm, RiverOak Investment Corporation has made an improvement on its original £5 million pound offer to purchase the site.
“But this has been turned down outright by the owners without discussion which beggars belief when so much is at stake for the employees and the Kent economy generally.
“Hard hearted is too mild a description of the management's behaviour. Unite’s stand has been reinforced by the Conservative MP for North Thanet, Sir Roger Gale who has described the company’s action as ‘the unacceptable face of capitalism’.
“We firmly believe Manston should continue as a viable airport. It is vital to the local economy in terms of jobs and future economic growth in the county.”
The airport was bought by Ann Gloag, who co-founded the Stagecoach Group, for £1 in October last year. The origins of the airport stretch back to the First World War and during the Second World War, Manston was heavily bombed during the Battle of Britain.
For further information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940 and/or the Unite press office on 020 3371 2065.
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.