Stobart's planned development of Carlisle Airport could protect and create 1,500 jobs while contributing £38m a year to Cumbria's economy, according to a new study commissioned by Cumbria Vision.
The economic development agency is lobbying local and central government to approve the expansion of the airport, which would be rebranded Carlisle Lake District Airport.
The study by consultants Ekos estimated that:
- 1,255 full time equivalent jobs and £36.25m of Cumbria's annual economic value would be safeguarded
- 157 new jobs would be created and £2.12m would be added to Cumbria's economic value
- 92 full time equivalent jobs would be created and £1.24m generated during the construction phase
Carlisle-based Stobart's original plans were called in for a public inquiry, prompting threats that it would pull out of the county altogether. Scaled down proposals for a new headquarters, warehousing and better terminal facilities, were submitted last week.
Ekos said access to new and existing markets would be improved, the area would become more attractive to inward investment and business opportunities relating to the nuclear industry would be enhanced by a bigger airport.
The report adds that a "modest" approach to commercial operations could see 100,000 passengers pass through the airport gates each year and open up Cumbria to more "high value" visitors from London, the South East and Europe.
Roger Liddle, chairman of Cumbria Vision, said: "This study demonstrates in the strongest possible terms just how important the development of Carlisle Airport is to Cumbria's economy. These are cold hard facts which cannot be ignored.
"Not only would it help to keep one of Cumbria's biggest brands in the county, but it would play a major role in supporting business, tourism and the many exciting regeneration projects currently taking place, such as Carlisle Renaissance and the Britain's Energy Coast Masterplan.
"The airport is a major building block in Cumbria's economic future and we owe it to future generations to ensure these latest plans become a reality."