KLM ‘will not return to Manston’

KLM 'will not return to Manston'

KLM will not return to a Kent airport threatened by closure even if a buyer is found, the airline has confirmed.

Up to 150 mostly part-time jobs were put at risk last month when loss-making Manston airport revealed it was in talks over a possible closure.

The Dutch carrier, which started twice-daily return flights to Amsterdam last April, then announced it would axe its Cityhopper service from tomorrow (April 10).

KLM Cityhopper managing director Boet Kreiken told Air Transport World that it was impossible to do “business in a shaky environment”.

“Now it is game over; we will redeploy the aircraft. We are gone.

“We can’t flip-flop in and out all the time. That is not the way we work.”

Manston was bought by the co-founder of the Stagecoach Group Ann Gloag for £1 from the New Zealand company Infratil in October.

Since then it is understood the airport has been losing about £10,000 a day, the BBC reported.

A 45-day consultation on its possible closure is due to end on May 11.

An initial offer for the airport from an unnamed buyer was withdrawn without explanation last week.

The owners told the BBC there were “no offers on the table”.

The airport has said it will remain operational until at least the end of April and staff would be given 10 days notice of closure thereafter.

The Unite union, which has 40 members at Manston, said last week that workforce had presented short-term and long-term business plans to management that could chart a profitable future for the airport.

Unite has called on the company to extend the 45-day consultation period so that all options can be explored to safeguard Manston’s future.

The airport tweeted this morning: “We have loved every minute of our partnership with KLM and it is with a heavy heart that we bid them farewell.”

Sourced from Travel Weekly

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