Abandoned UK airport is set to reopen after nearly a decade, as bosses ‘eye up budget flights to Europe’
- Manston is set to reopen in 2026 as a cargo airport, operating five daily flights
- Bosses hope to offer passenger flights to popular holiday destinations by 2028
After nearly a decade, an abandoned UK airport is set to reopen with bosses aiming to offer budget passenger flights to Europe.
Manston Airport, which served as a home to the Royal Air Force (RAF) during the World Wars, is undergoing renovations with hopes of reopening in 2026.
The estimated £500million could result in affordable flights from Kent to holiday hotspots including the Netherlands, Spain, Cyprus and Malta, The Sun reported.
Airport owners RiverOak Strategic Partners want the facility to initially open as a cargo airport, operating five flights per day. If the project proves profitable, owners would like to offer passenger routes by 2028.
After nearly a decade, abandoned Manston Airport is set to reopen with bosses aiming to offer budget passenger flights to Europe
The estimated £500million could result in affordable flights from Kent to holiday hotspots including the Netherlands, Spain, Cyprus and Malta
Manston will undergo a ‘huge renovation’ before it is operational again.
As the facility has received few updates since the RAF left in 1999, officials need to update the airport’s terminals and runways.
Crews will also need to demolish existing buildings and create new roads that are better equipped to deal with high-volume traffic.
While the airport is years away from offering passenger flights, bosses are said to be in talks budget airlines such as Ryanair, easyJet and Wizz Air.
Dutch company KLM could also be one of the carriers to return to the facility, records indicate.
MailOnline has approached RiverOak Strategic Partners for comment.
Manston Airport, which served as a home to the Royal Air Force (RAF) during the World Wars, is undergoing renovations with hopes of reopening in 2026
Airport owners RiverOak Strategic Partners want the facility to initially open as a cargo airport, operating five flights per day. If the project proves profitable, owners would like to offer passenger routes by 2028
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The airport, historically known as RAF Manston, was first used in 1916 during World War I. The facility was utilised again during the Second World War due to its proximity to the English Channel.
Almost destroyed and littered with unexploded bombs, Manston suffered some of the worst bombing of any airfield in the 1940s, during the Battle of Britain, and has a rich history of flight.
It was regularly used by badly-damaged aeroplanes because it was so close to the front-line and had a long runway, becoming an emergency landing ground for bomber crews on the east coast.
There have been persistent rumours of a mutiny at Manston during the Battle of Britain, with claims that ground crew were so angered by constant attacks on the airfield that they lost their morale.
It has been suggested that the men refused to come out of their air raid shelter, and only emerged when threatened by an officer with a gun. However, claims of any mutiny have never been proven.
The airport also served as the site where Dambusters ace Sir Barnes Wallace carried out tests on the revolutionary bouncing bomb during World War II.
Most recently, the site has been used as a filming location and was featured last year in Sam Mendes’ Empire of Light.
The airport has also been used as a car park for lorry drivers stuck between France and the UK.
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