FLIGHTS into Carlisle's new multi-million pound airport will be directed from a control tower built more than five decades ago.

Commercial flights are planned to take off from Carlisle Lake District Airport this spring.

The News & Star understands the vertical windows of the airport's new air traffic control tower, joined to the terminal building, need to be re-done.

When asked, Stobart Group said it plans to use the airfield's existing control tower - a white hexagonal shaped building with angled windows, built as an extension to the World War Two tower in 1966.

An airport spokesman said: “We work closely with the CAA and they are satisfied with our plans for utilising our existing, fully compliant ATC tower for at least 12 months of operations.

"We are now focused on training ATC people in order to open the airport to commercial passengers for the first time in 26 years.”

An expert in the design of air traffic control towers has confirmed most have angled windows to eliminate reflections.

Tony Pactat, managing director of ABP, said: "The reason the glass is inclined is to stop reflections. Often if you've got lights in the ceiling or lights coming in from other sources, if the glass is incline it reflects those images up rather than towards the controller to give them a better view.

"We follow regulations set by the UK CAA and in turn they have to abide by certain regulations laid down by the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation).

"In their documentation and the UK CAA documentation they will give you a preferred design criteria and they will give you recommendations and they will certainly say the glass should be inclined - they don't say what angle but generally speaking it's about 15 degrees."

With more than 40 year's experience ABP has designed and installed 60 towers in 24 countries with those in the UK including Edinburgh, Newcastle, Stansted, as well as control towers at military bases and Stobart-owned London Southend.

All have been built with windows at 15 degrees, bar one in Zimbabwe which was angled at 16.5 degrees.

"You will find these recommendations laid down in the UK codes of practice and ICAO regulations but it doesn't absolutely say the glass must be inclined because what they are trying to is limit reflections," Mr Pactat continued.

"It's all to do with giving the controller the best possible unobstructed vision of aircraft within the circuit and landing on the runway. All the regulations say when you're designing a new control room you must endeavour to give the controller the best possible unobstructed and un-reflected vision."

He explained that there are special coatings for glass to stop reflection, often used on high-end shopfront windows, but he had never seen it used in the design of an air traffic control tower.

Asked why Carlisle Lake District Airport could not use the new tower and whether or not it meets regulations, the CCA said it could not discuss the details of the airport's aerodrome licence.