Carlisle airport’s commercial airline Loganair says it will ask for Government help to survive the coronavirus pandemic.

The firm’s chief executive Jonathan Hinkles said any airline saying it could survive without government help “would probably be lying”.

Budget airline EasyJet announced today that it was grounding its entire fleet.

Earlier this month, Loganair suspended 55 per cent of its routes nationally, including the Carlisle to Dublin flights.

Last week, the airport’s routes to Belfast and London Southend were postponed until further notice.

Loganair has not yet applied to the Treasury for emergency support as the Government has told airlines to exhaust all other avenues before they make an official application.

Mr Hinkles said: "I think what was made clear by the Chancellor in the letter last week was to say we're not going to do something which is an industry-wide bailout programme, airlines have got to try and recourse to their shareholders, to their lenders first.

"We respect that, that's a fair position for them to take. But if you can't bridge the gap after that, only then can you come and talk to us. That was very much the message.

"But I do think like the vast majority of UK airlines we will be going back to take up that invite for further conversation with Treasury in the coming days because we have to."

While Loganair had been doing a lot of work with its shareholders and suppliers to try and minimise cost, Mr Hinkles warned it was "about actually getting rid of payments" than deferring costs.

Commercial flights restarted at Carlisle airport after 26 years last July.

The airport is owned by Stobart Group, which paid tribute to all its staff and said it remained committed to the area.

A spokesman for Carlisle Lake District Airport said: “The Covid-19 outbreak is having a profound and dramatic effect on the way we live our lives and how we do business, not least in the aviation industry.

"But we would urge the Government to look ahead to after our current state of affairs.

"As the Chancellor has said himself, the aviation sector will be essential in helping global Britain’s economy bounce back.

"We believe regional airlines and airports, which provide crucial economic transport links, will be key to delivering the Government’s levelling up ambitions for the whole of the UK."