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Last Updated: Monday, 29 August 2005, 08:23 GMT 09:23 UK
Airport 'could be best in region'
EUjet aeroplane
EUjet flew from Manston until its parent firm went bust in July
The newly-sold Kent International Airport could become the South East's most successful airport, according to the leader of the local council.

The airport, at Manston, closed in July when owner PlaneStation went bust.

It was bought by New Zealand-based air operator Infratil last week, with the firm saying it would like Ryanair to fly from Manston.

Thanet Council leader Sandy Ezekiel said a successful Manston Airport could boost the economy of the whole of Kent.

Budget airline EUjet began running passenger flights from Manston in September 2004 but passenger numbers never reached the levels hoped for.

God willing, we will have the most successful airport in the South East of England
Thanet Council leader Sandy Ezekiel

In July, PlaneStation, which owned both the airport and EUjet, went into administration and flights stopped immediately, leaving about 5,000 passengers stranded abroad.

Infratil bought the airport for 17m last week.

Cllr Ezekiel told BBC Radio Kent: "There's nothing going to be rushed, they're not talking about Ryanair moving in within six months or two million passengers within six months.

"They've got a gradual business plan which shows fairly substantial losses for a three year period, but after that, God willing, we will have the most successful airport in the South East of England.

"It's not just Thanet's economy that will grow strongly, it's the whole of east Kent, if not Kent, which will grow and benefit from Manston's development."


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