Manston Airport campaigners take petition to Downing St

The delegation from Thanet included local MPs Laura Sandys (far left) and Roger Gale (third from left)

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The fight to reopen a Kent airport has been taken to Downing Street where a petition signed by more than 26,000 people was handed in by campaigners.

A delegation from Thanet, including local MPs Laura Sandys and Roger Gale, urged the government to accept that Manston Airport has a viable future.

The airport closed in May after it was revealed it was losing £10,000 a day.

Mr Gale said: "It is important that we remind Downing Street that there is a huge interest in reopening Manston."

Thanet District Council has been considering whether to issue a compulsory purchase order for the airport.

'No end of potential'

It was discussed at a council meeting earlier this month, with the authority affirming "its considerable disappointment at the recent closure of Manston as a regional airport".

A council motion said there would be "a detailed examination of the legal and financial implications of a compulsory purchase order before a final decision is reached".

Manston Airport was bought by Ann Gloag, co-founder of the Stagecoach Group, last October, but was shut with the loss of 150 jobs despite three offers to buy it being made by US investment firm RiverOak.

Sue Girdler, of TG Aviation, which runs a flying school and club at the airport, said her company still had 50 years left on its lease, and there was "no end of potential" for Manston.

"We're talking at the moment of insufficient capacity at Heathrow and Gatwick, and looking at options going forward.

"Those options are not going to be available for 15 or 20 years, and you have a perfectly serviceable airport sitting closed at Manston," she said.

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