AN ABANDONED airport in Kent looks set to re-open, sparking fears over fresh competition that could hamper Southend Airport’s post-Covid recovery.

Manston Airport in Kent was closed back in 2014 after reporting huge losses.

After lying dormant for almost a decade, the airport is set to reopen as a cargo airport by 2025 - with plans to expand to passenger flights if all goes to plan.

Trains from Ramsgate into London St Pancras take about one hour and 15 minutes, slightly longer than Southend Airport’s 52 minutes to London Liverpool Street.

But with Southend Airport slowly recovering from massive losses at the start of the pandemic, the re-opening of Manston Airport across the estuary could present flyers with a competitive option when travelling into London from abroad.

“It could potentially eat into Southend Airport’s market and there is always that risk that airlines will be split on where to fly from,” Conservative councillor Daniel Nelson said.

“But any airline who chooses Marston over Southend will soon realise their mistake,” the Southchurch ward councillor added.  “Southend is much better located, a much better airport and is the clear winning choice for any airline looking to succeed.”

Southend Airport was left reeling after Covid-19 hit the UK with Ryanair, Wizz Air and easyJet quitting the airport in quick succession with the latter returning last year and running flights to Malaga, Majorca and Faro.

The budget airline giant recently announced flights to Amsterdam too, representing a 30 per cent increase in operations compared to Summer 2022.

“It’s a minimal risk I would say as the marketplaces are quite different,” councillor Martin Terry, responsible for public protection said.

The Thorpe Ward independent councillor added: “Our airport transport is also far more refined and will offer potential customers and easier and quicker route into the capital.”

Manston Airport was acquired by developer RiverOak Strategic Partners (RSP) for £16million in 2019. RSP had been in talks with Ryanair, easyJet and Hungarian low-cost operator Wizz Air, Kent Online reported.