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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 February 2007, 17:02 GMT
Transatlantic air service fails
Planes at Kent International Airport
Manston Airport was taken over by Infratil last August
Plans to run transatlantic flights between Kent and America have been scrapped because of poor ticket sales.

The weekly service to Norfolk, Virginia was supposed to take off from Manston International Airport in May.

But package holiday company Cosmos decided to cancel the planned flights after selling just 10% of the available tickets.

Cosmos said the 800 passengers who had booked the service would get a full refund or be offered another holiday.

It was hoped the transatlantic service would help restore industry confidence in the airport.

It was a calculated risk that had significant potential and could have delivered major benefits for the region
Kent County Council leader Paul Carter

Infratil took over the Kent International airport in 2007 after previous owner PlaneStation went into administration.

Steve Fitzgerald, Chief Executive of Infratil Airports Europe, said: "We are obviously disappointed that this project will not be going ahead as planned.

"We believe Kent International Airport has the potential to service the domestic and short-haul, business and leisure, low cost and charter markets within Europe.

"There will be a gradual development and our business plan anticipates growth to around 500,000 - 600,000 passengers over three years."

Kent County Council leader Paul Carter said: "It was a calculated risk that had significant potential and could have delivered major benefits for the region. Enormous efforts have been made on both sides of the Atlantic to promote the flights.

"In the absence of any other organisation prepared to share the financial risk of continuing with the project, it would not be prudent or viable to invest public money in the venture."


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