On 7 September 2018, a public meeting was held in Ramsgate to discuss the future of Manston Airport. On the same day, I had a letter included in Thanet Gazette, challenging our MP’s selective interpretation of evidence in the matter of a Hungarian airport. Published under the heading ‘MP needs to take another look at the facts’, the full text follows.
Our MP Craig Mackinlay says the example of Debrecen airport in Hungary demonstrates why we should reopen Manston airport here. (View From Westminster, Gazette, 24 August) As evidence of the airport’s success, he points to the rapid growth of the small airline Whizz Air and the opening of a giant new BMW factory in the area.
Committed Brexiteer and free marketeer Mr Mackinlay needs to take another look at the facts. The Hungarian airport’s success is primarily down to state investment backed by the European Union. The overwhelming reason for Whizz Air’s success is the boom in east–west travel after the east European countries joined the EU. The main reasons for BMW’s move to Debrecen are EU demand and BMW’s nervousness about increasing protectionism and the danger of trade barriers appearing beyond Europe.
One other extremely important difference between Debrecen andManston Mr Mackinlay should recall is that Debrecen is surrounded on all sides by potential customers while Manston is surrounded on three sides mostly by sea.
If Mr Mackinlay wants to make a sensible contribution to our very important debate about what happens at Manston, he should show at least some understanding of the hard realities of air travel and the dangers we face from government bungling over Brexit.