Flights at southeast England's Manston Kent International Airport, which closed in May 2014, may restart by 2022, its new owner RiverOak Strategic Partners (RSP) has revealed. RSP, a London-based company incorporated in 2016 specifically to reopen the Kent County airport, told the BBC it planned "short-haul and cargo flights" at the site.

The company confirmed in a statement dated July 3 that it would purchase the airport from Stone Hill Park (SHP), which had originally planned to develop the area into housing, a business park, a country park, and sports village.

RiverOak revealed in February 2018 that it had been trying to secure a Development Consent Order (DCO) from the UK's Secretary of State for Transport that would force SHP to sell the property, with the aim of redeveloping Manston into a cargo airport alongside scheduled passenger services from Ryanair. It also hoped to lure back KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, which had connected Manston with Amsterdam Schiphol before the airport's closure.

The site is still subject to a DCO examination process on RSP's proposals, the company said on July 3, adding that "as the new owners of the site, RSP will be able to carry out survey work vital to the conclusion of the DCO examination process with immediate effect. SHP has agreed that, on completion, it will withdraw its objection to the DCO."

RiverOak Director Tony Freudmann told the BBC: "The current plan is to have the airport reopened in the spring of 2022 for short-haul and cargo flights. We have shown that it is financially viable."

He predicted that 680,000 passengers and 174,000 tonnes of cargo would fly from Manston each year from 2024 and that these numbers would double after two decades.