Plain Jane 251013 blogSO MANSTON Airport has been sold for a pound. As the lovely Ed and I agreed, had we known it was going to be so cheap, we could have clubbed together and bought it ourselves.

I have listened with interest to reaction to the news that Ann Gloag, legendary hot-shot business woman, co-creator of the Stagecoach millions and probably fairly terrifying, is the buyer of our local airport.

“Asset-stripper,” says one friend darkly. “It will end up a housing estate,” says another. “Night flights…” drones a third.

I am aware of Mrs Gloag’s reputation for hard-nosed business practice (you don’t get to own two castles by playing tiddlywinks) but I, lover of all things Manston (except of course, you at the back with the eggs, the said night flights. No, I am not asking for those. That’s it – you can put the box down now…) am pushing down any pricklings of unease and choosing to look on the upside.

I am giving Mrs G – the woman who brought us The Loop – the benefit of the doubt.

I am seeing her as a Knightress in shining armour, who will save jobs and create more, bring prosperity to the isle, investment to the Manston infrastructure and ultimately secure the future of somewhere I can fly all over the world from, when I want to be shouted at.

When I came back from Amsterdam this week (in 35 minutes only – indoors within the hour) I was pleased to see the plane was almost full. I hope this means the future for Manston is bright.

And brighter now it’s Gloag-shaped. If so, I’d say we’ve got a bargain. It could be the best pound we never spent.

IT IS the lot of the columnist to receive abuse. Indeed my esteemed colleague Mike would consider us to have failed in our duty, were it otherwise.

So being told by Mr Dennis Franklin I am “a selfish, mean, nasty person” (he writes to me personally as well as to the letters page) with the addition of “Dr Goebbles (sic) (why can the worst of the ranters never spell?) would be proud of you”, is par for the course.

Everyone is entitled to their opinions – even if Dr Goebbels, after one look at my family history, would have dispatched me to the nearest camp. But opinions are one thing – I’m afraid I can be a pedant for the facts. So for those still overexcited by my trip to Manchester by plane from Manston, let me share them with you.

My airfare cost £148.80 (sight of receipt available on request). It was paid on my own credit card, although in due course I will be reimbursed by the magazine I went to Manchester to work for.

My investigations at the time, via the trainline.com (you may know cheaper sites) informed me had I taken a similar journey by train – as I did the previous year – it would have cost, depending on the time of day I travelled, anything from £101.90 to £390. But financial considerations were not my primary reason for flying.

As I explained at the time, I was keen to try out the service from KLM and Manston – so that I could write the very column Mr Franklin so enjoyed.

I did and was delighted. And have done it twice more since, to France and Spain.

“We should be told,” wrote Mr Franklin on the letters page a fortnight ago, when demanding to know who had paid my fare. Dear Sir, you just have been.

You can read the original article at http://www.thanetgazette.co.uk/Plain-Jane-m-welcoming-Manston-s-new-owner-Ann/story-19988111-detail/story.html.

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