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Sunday, 23 November 2014

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Stobart's £250,000 boost for Carlisle Airport

Transport giant Stobart has ploughed an extra £250,000 a year into its plans to redevelop Carlisle airport.

Andrew Tinkler photo
Andrew Tinkler

The haulage group has lodged new documents with the city council, pledging the money to airline operators.

Aer Arann – now known as Stobart Air, which Stobart has a 45 per cent stake in – has confirmed it is interested in running a service.

The move comes after the High Court quashed planning permission granted by the city council in March, due to a lack of detail about the venture’s commercial viability, which the cash injection aims to address.

It is believed that the extra money would be paid as a subsidy to the operating airline to ensure that the airport is financially sound.

Stobart declined to comment today but documents lodged with the council this month said it “intended to grow Stobart Air significantly, following the completion of development at London Southend Airport”.

“LSA has developed new routes with major operators including easyJet with the ultimate aim of servicing two million passengers a year,” they said.

“Once planning approval is obtained for the developments at Carlisle Lake District Airport, Stobart Air would invest in new airport infrastructure to upgrade the facilities at Carlisle airport, including runway resurfacing and new aircraft stands, and commerce services from Carlisle to Southend and Dublin.”

The documents said it had provided a “robust business plan” which showed planned services were based on “reasonably priced ticket fares”.

It plans to plough £20.36m into a new distribution centre at the airport, aircraft stands, runways and a terminal and fire station, the document says.

The move comes after a high court judge ruled a city council planning official who recommended refusing planning permission in 2011 was right to conclude there was no evidence to show the passenger flights predicted by Stobart Group would ever materialise.

Speaking after the decision, Andrew Tinkler, Stobart Group’s chief executive, insisted that the firm is capable of running commercial passenger flights from Carlisle.

A city council spokeswoman confirmed the transport group had lodged extra information for “already existing plans”. She said the plans were out for consideration and would be debated by planners at a future date, which had yet to be decided.

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