Passenger flights from Carlisle Airport 'by this time next year'

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Andrew Tinkler
Andrew Tinkler
16 May 2016 11:43AM

Scheduled passenger flights from Carlisle Airport will be operating by this time next year, Stobart Group chief Andrew Tinkler has pledged.

Chancellor George Osborne announced in his Autumn Statement that proposed routes from Carlisle to London Southend, Dublin and Belfast would receive a start-up subsidy from the Government’s Regional Air Connectivity Fund.

Mr Tinkler revealed that Stobart would also receive grant funding towards runway improvements, which must be completed before scheduled passenger services can start.

He said: “Our aim is to carry out those works and get it up to Civil Aviation Authority standards this summer, and have the airport ready for scheduled flights by October.

“We might start them then but it may be better to wait until the spring, given that it takes time to sell airline seats. We will see how it goes.”

He was speaking after Stobart Group, which owns the airport, posted healthy pre-tax profits of £10 million for the year to April.

The company completed a freight distribution centre at Carlisle Airport last summer and then agreed a sale and lease back deal on the property for £16.9m. The bulk of the 315,000sq ft freight distribution centre is sub-let to haulier Eddie Stobart.

Stobart Group’s plan for scheduled flights would see twice daily services to Southend, which is less than an hour from central London by train, and one flight per day to both Belfast and Dublin, the latter with onward connections to the US.

The flights would be operated by Stobart Air, in which Stobart Group holds a 45 per cent stake. Mr Tinkler added that the proposals for flights from Carlisle would not be affected by recent management changes at Stobart Air.

He had to take over as chairman of the airline last month following the sudden departure of former Ryanair executive Tim Jeans after only six months in the role.

Then last week it emerged that chief executive Sean Brogan was quitting after his plan to lead a management buy out was rejected.

Stobart Air, which operates Aer Lingus Regional services under a franchise agreement, carried 1.4m passengers in 2015-16.

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Andy   Sullivan , Brampton Wednesday, 06 September, 2017 at 7:19PM
The unfortunate truth is, budget airlines are pulling out of minor, regional airports and concentrating on the major hubs. A few years ago, low cost airlines flew from places like Dundee, Coventry, Exeter and Blackpool to destinations such as Castellon, Hahn and Charleroi. But those days have ended; many second-division airports are struggling (there are doubts about the viability of Durham Tees Valley among others) and absolutely no reason to think this will change. London, Manchester, Birmingham - yes. Norwich, Kirmington, Perth - no. So the prospect of any flights at all other than those offered by Stobart Air is remote. Southend isn't actually a bad airport if you want to visit the (City of) London but that's about it. As for holiday flights to Spain. Italy, Greece ... no. The airport is in the wrong place. It has no infrastructure, and no prospect of getting any. Carlisle and Cumbria Councils would do much better to press for better links from Cumbria to existing, major airports with a range of destinations, not investing time and effort (and money) pushing for a limited range of flights from Carlisle.
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Kev   Bimson , Belfast Wednesday, 06 September, 2017 at 1:22PM
Still waiting ! As a resident of Belfast now, I would love to be able to travel back home to Carlisle on this route, rather than have to fly into Newcastle or get the ferry to cairnryan and travel down to Carlisle !!!
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andrew   Ive , Carnforth Friday, 11 August, 2017 at 3:12PM
The big problem in the north is that no one flies to Gatwick anymore. To get there to connect with long haul, you fly to Heathrow and slog round the M25 car park, or train to Euston, then underground then train again- all with luggage. So much for the Northern power house! and H2S will not help either as it stops in the Midlands. Come on Stobart, be brave and put on a Daily Gatwick flight when it all kicks off..
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David   Taylor , Carlisle / London / Paris Tuesday, 16 May, 2017 at 9:18PM
1 year on... happening or not happening that is the question...? So ready to start booking.....
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Carlisle resident   , Carlisle Saturday, 22 April, 2017 at 2:20AM
Believe when it happens! Not holding my breath.
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Neil   Bingham , Hensingham Friday, 21 April, 2017 at 3:07PM
For years have wanted to visit Ireland but as herself does not do boats, flying is the only way for us - but again no way by going to Newcastle then flying back over our house many hours later or getting to Manchester (which is the most awful airport that we have ever experienced in many years of global travel - so awful that we have vowed never to use it again!)). So good luck to the project - maybe a visit to Ireland will now become possible Not so sure that Southend is a viable destination though!
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Mike   Rayson , Carlisle Monday, 17 April, 2017 at 4:13PM
This time next year we will be millionaires rodney!! Another quote from a comedian
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Geoff   Allen , Essex Wednesday, 12 April, 2017 at 1:27PM
Is this ever going to happen ?
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Steve   Knowles , Northumberland Friday, 21 April, 2017 at 11:02AM
I travel every night and work in Carlisle, I haven't even seen a plane never mind a passenger carrier. I see plenty Stobard lorries though.
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Harry   Powell , Belfast Friday, 18 November, 2016 at 5:21PM
I have been waiting years for the airport to open I was born in workington and my family still live there I would like to be Informed when flights start good luck with the service
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colin   Jones , Cockermouth Thursday, 19 May, 2016 at 8:08AM
Looking forward for the flights down south then a connection to Europe. Save having to drive to Manchester or Glasgow
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Martyn   , Carlisle Wednesday, 18 May, 2016 at 6:28AM
I think some people need to look at the big picture. An airport like Carlisle can't suddenly have 4 terminals and offer flights to every County in the world! Its great to see this Airport being developed, and who knows, in a few years time we might not have to drive to Newcastle/Manchester/Glasgow to go on holiday anymore!
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Peter   Whipp , Dalston Monday, 16 May, 2016 at 7:43PM
This stupid story has run ever since my birth in Carlisle 68 years ago. There is a train every hour from Carlisle to central London that takes about 3hrs 20 mins. Why would any sane person drag out to Carlisle Airport an hour before take off, fly for more than an hour and then spend much more than an hour getting from Southend to central London? Carlisle is, very fortunately, a railway city.
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RICHARD   HARDY , brampton Monday, 16 May, 2016 at 5:55PM
Hang on a minute SOUTHEND is in Essex aint it.. Train from Carlisle on the virgin express to London much quicker.
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We'll   See , Cumbria Monday, 16 May, 2016 at 11:42AM
Hear it all before! The phrase "pigs might fly" come to mind about the likelihood of seeing scheduled passenger flights from Carlisle airport to anywhere remotely useful. In fact let's hope the scheduled passenger flights that have been promised don't crash into those flying pigs!
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