Continental flights on Carlisle airport target list

Stobart's newly appointed airport director, Andy Judge, wants to see services to Amsterdam and Paris installed within five years, he told Cumbria Tourism's annual general meeting.

The £25m redevelopment of the airport is due to begin on site in the New Year and talks have started with airlines interested in bringing passengers to the Lake District, Scotland and the North of England.

Judge said: "We have just about finished the pre-construction requirements and we will begin the construction phase early next year. Route development strategies have been drawn up and local surveys have been conducted to find out which routes would be viable. Ultimately, though, it will be the airlines that decide, they won't put routes on that aren't profitable. There has to be a lot of people wanting to go to a potential destination."

London, Dublin, Southampton, Birmingham, Belfast, Paris and Amsterdam are among the destinations being mooted.

A connecting service via Amsterdam "could potentially bring people into the Lake District from places like India and further afield", Judge said.

Rental income from Stobart's logistics subsidiaries and tenants will account for 60% to 70% of income, with passenger trade making up the remainder.

"This airport is ready to fly. In four to five years I see it as a thriving regional airport. It's not going to be overnight, we will start with a couple of flights in a couple of year's time," he finished.

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