Tickets for the first commercial flights from Carlisle airport in 20 years are due to go on sale soon.

Stobart Group said once the Civil Aviation Authority was satisfied with air traffic control staff training, tickets for Loganair flights to Dublin, London Southend and Belfast, will become available.

However, the company would not be drawn on a date for its first flight.

It is hoped it will be in the spring.

It said the airport was working closely with the Civil Aviation Authority as it continues to train its air traffic control staff.

To complete their training, they are using a simulator provided by Air Navigation Services at Edinburgh Airport.

This includes a series of large screens and a mock-up control tower that together provide a lifelike representation of a fully operational Carlisle Lake District Airport control tower.

Damon Knight, head of air traffic control at Stobart Aviation, said: “We are doing a variety of different things to ensure the airport is open for commercial flights later this year.

"A key focus is reopening the air traffic control service, and the simulator represents a really innovative approach to the training that is required.

“It means we can recreate the view from the window in the control tower and test different scenarios such as varying volumes of traffic and weather types.

“This in turn allows us to expediate the training in order to get the team operational as quickly as possible.

"Because we can record everything in the simulator, it also makes it easier for the Civil Aviation Authority to validate the training that is being received.”

Stobart Group was forced to cancel two launches of commercial flights in June and September, largely due to a shortage of air traffic control staff.

It announced in August that it had recruited enough workers, but they each needed to gain experience working at the airport, which is how the simulator has aided the process.

The airport needs a maximum of six air traffic controllers to operate shifts and in August it was reported the firm had employed eight.