At the outset of the First World War, the Isle of Thanet was equipped with a small and precarious landing strip for aircraft at St Mildred's Bay, Westgate, on top of the chalk cliffs, at the foot of which was a promenade which had been used for seaplane operations.
Riveroak however failed to supply Thanet District Council with the required information, and thus TDC declined to go forward with a CPO with Riveroak, as they felt that ample time had been given for Riveroak to supply the information required including financial status.
In February 2016, Thanet District Council announced that a total of five expressions of interest had been received, with three being carried forward (after responses were received to a follow-up questionnaire) to the next stage of the CPO process.
A training school, originally set up to instruct pilots in the use of the new Handley Page Type O bombers, was soon established.
By the close of 1916 there were already two units stationed at Manston: the Operational War Flight Command and the Handley Page Training School.
Since closure various campaign groups formed, seeking to reopen the airport, including petitioning the local council to issue a compulsory purchase order (CPO) to do so, in conjunction with a private indemnity partner.
A US-based investment group, River Oak, put forward a plan to re-open the airport, with an initial emphasis on cargo and aircraft recycling operations.In the winter of 1915–1916, early aircraft began to use the open farmlands between Minster and Manston as a site for emergency landings.The Admiralty Aerodrome at 'Manston' was opened in response.Its location near the Kent coast gave Manston some advantages over other aerodromes, and regular additions in men and machinery were soon made, particularly from Detling, in early days.The single runway was located about 1-mile (1.6 km) from the coastline at 178 ft (54 m) above sea level.At 2,748 m (9,016 ft) long, Manston had the tenth longest civilian runway in the United Kingdom (after Heathrow (2), Gatwick, Birmingham, Manchester, Stansted, East Midlands, Doncaster and Prestwick), Capable of handling some of the larger long-haul aircraft, but not capable of accommodating the largest passenger or freight types, at their maximum takeoff weights, as they require a longer runway than the 2,748 m (9,016 ft) that was available at Manston.