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29 May 2018

BY James Chapple

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Carlisle Lake District airport postpones commercial flight resumption

Carlisle Lake District airport has postponed its planned resumption of scheduled passenger flights due to a shortage of qualified air traffic control staff.

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Carlisle Lake District airport postpones commercial flight resumption

The airport, owned by Stobart Group, had been due to resume commercial flights on June 4 for the first time in 25 years.

 

However, it announced on Tuesday (May 29) the launch had been postponed until September 3.

 

In a statement, Carlisle said: “The growing global shortage of qualified air traffic control staff available to meet training and regulatory deadlines has resulted in the airport being unable to open for commercial air services in time to proceed with the planned June 4 launch date.”


Kate Willard, Stobart Group head of corporate projects, said: “It is with enormous regret we must advise the launch of scheduled services from Carlisle Lake District Airport has been delayed.


“This major project to launch air services from a new airport relies not only on the airport’s infrastructure being complete but also on a full complement of essential operational staff.


“Regrettably, changing circumstances around staffing means this cannot be completed in time for the airport to receive scheduled flights as planned on June 4, despite every possible human effort being made.


“We know just how much this airport means to the people of Cumbria, south Scotland and the wider north west region and remain fully and wholeheartedly committed to working with all of our partners towards the new September launch date.”


Stobart said it would continue to work with the CAA towards the new September launch date, while Loganair has informed passengers of the postponement.


The airport will remain open to general aviation traffic, which requires less air traffic control provision.


Jonathan Hinkles, Loganair managing director, added: “Together with our partners Stobart Aviation, we reluctantly had to take the decision to delay the launch of flights to London Southend, Dublin and Belfast City.


“This is hugely disappointing for everyone, especially our customers. We remain fully committed to our partnership with Stobart Aviation to commence regular commercial services from Carlisle Lake District in September.


“We’re working hard to inform all passengers and we completely appreciate the frustration which disruption to travel plans can cause. We have taken the decision to delay to September to provide the greatest level of certainty that the new target date for the introduction of services will be met, allowing the travelling public to book with confidence.”


All passengers are being contacted by the airline with the option of taking a full refund or assistance with alternative flights from Manchester or Glasgow.


Celebrations to mark the relaunch will now be held on September 3.

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