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Friday, 25 April 2014

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Carlisle Airport revamp will boost business, says Stobart boss Andrew Tinkler

Stobart Group chief executive Andrew Tinkler believes the firm’s £25 million Carlisle Airport revamp will help it attract new customers.

Andrew Tinkler photo
Andrew Tinkler

Approval was given in principle by Carlisle City Council to the overhaul on Friday – giving hope of scheduled passenger flights to London Southend and Dublin by next summer.

The scheme is for a 393,000sq ft freight-distribution centre, which would replace the Eddie Stobart depot at Kingstown and to resurface the runway for passenger flights and air freight.

Stobart already operates London Southend Airport, where the transport giant has invested more then £100m in upgrades and now operates flights to 13 overseas destinations through easyJet and Aer Arran services

Mr Tinkler said: “The decision is extremely positive for the people of Cumbria because it will drive the economy, boost tourism and safeguard over 800 direct and indirect jobs.

“The freight-distribution centre will allow Eddie Stobart to attract new clients while providing the rental income required to develop Carlisle Airport and commence passenger operations. Additional Group revenue streams will be realised because we link Carlisle and Southend airports to give passengers seamless connections to Europe.”

Mr Tinkler is also hopeful that the link to Southend will also boost the company’s business there.

Business, tourism and political leaders have already hailed the go-ahead for the latest plans to upgrade Carlisle Airport as a major boost for Cumbria’s economy. But the scheme still has to clear planning and legal hurdles before final approval is achieved.

Objectors may seek a judicial review of the decision to grant planning permission.

Irish airline Aer Arann, trading as Aer Lingus Regional, has said it will operate a twice-daily service from Carlisle to London Southend Airport, where there is a direct rail link to London Liverpool Street.

There would also be a daily service to Dublin with onward connections to Europe and the U.S.

Air-freight operations would fly in fresh produce for Tesco and also supply perishable goods to the Tesco stores at Douglas, in the Isle of Man, and Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis.

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