Page last updated at 13:12 GMT, Wednesday, 8 October 2008 14:12 UK

Airport in 25-year expansion plan

Kent International Airport
Kent International Airport was taken over by Infratil three years ago

A 25-year expansion plan which will see traffic levels at Kent International Airport increased has been unveiled.

Owners Infratil hope a million passengers will use the site each year by 2011, rising to six million by 2033.

It also expects freight carried through the airport, at Manston, to rise from 33,000 tonnes to 500,000 tonnes.

Chief executive, Matt Clarke, said: "The growth in aviation is destined to continue... there is a lot of room for expansion down here."

Currently about 16,000 people travel through the airport every year.

The draft master plan also details the links between the airport and the wider region, its physical development and how the economic and environmental effects of the airport's growth will be managed.

'Attractive alternative'

Kent International Airport has one passenger terminal facility and a single runway with "sufficient capacity" for the number of aircraft movements anticipated over the next 25 years, it says.

The plan predicts it will provide "an increasingly attractive alternative for airlines and passengers as congestion increases".

Mr Clarke said the long-term plans had been formulated since Infratil took ownership of the airport three years ago.

An extensive consultation period is now under way during which proposals will be discussed with stakeholders including local and surrounding councils, residents, community groups, MPs, airlines, and local businesses.

Public briefing sessions will also be arranged in the local area over the coming weeks.

The consultation period ends on 19 December, with the final version of the master plan due to be published early next year.

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Around 16,000 passengers currently use the airport each year.




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