Loganair makes history with first flights from Lake District airport in 25 years

An historic venture that will see Scottish airline Loganair connect the Lake District with airports in the UK and Ireland took off yesterday with its inaugural flight.

Loganair will connect Cumbria and south-west Scotland with London, Belfast Dublin. Picture: Contributed

The Scottish carrier, based at Glasgow Airport, has made history by offering the first commercial passenger flights from Carlisle Lake District Airport in more than 25 years.

Loganair will connect the airport, which is to serve Cumbria and south-west Scotland, with London Southend, Belfast City and Dublin.

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The first flight, to Dublin Airport, took off yesterday following a blessing from the Archdeacon of Carlisle.

Loganair will use 33-seater Saab 340B aircraft to operate the flights, with nine return services on certain weekdays and five at weekends.

The regional carrier said the aircraft type is “ideally suited” to short commuter journeys and forms the mainstay of Loganair’s 39-strong fleet.

Flights to and from the Carlisle airport, which is owned and operated by the Stobart Group, were initially due to resume in June last year but this was delayed due to a shortage of air traffic control staff.

Jonathan Hinkles, managing director at Loganair, said: “This is an historic day for both Loganair and Carlisle Lake District Airport as the first commercial air services for 26 years take to the skies.

“These three routes will be a complete game-changer for the region’s connectivity with London and Ireland – extremely beneficial for the business community and highly convenient for tourists booking breaks to the Lake District.

“Congratulations to everyone for working so hard to make this possible. We’re very much looking forward to welcoming the first customers onboard.”

Earlier this year, Loganair launched the first flights between a Scottish island and London after unveiling a direct link between Stornoway and Southend.

The airline also announced it would fly to London Southend from Glasgow and Aberdeen as often as three times a day.

Carlisle Airport, which once served as an RAF airfield, is situated next to two Unesco World Heritage Sites: the Lake District National Park and former Roman empire fontier Hadrian’s Wall.

Prior to yesterday’s launch, its last commercial passenger flight was in 1993.

The site has undergone a major conversion with the addition of a modern terminal, a Borderlands Café and new runways and taxiways.

Speaking ahead of the launch event, Kate Willard, director of partnership development at the Stobart Group, said: “It’s going to be an extraordinary day for the airport and for the city of Carlisle.

“Airports are symbols of confidence and this shows Cumbria is open for business.”

She said the launch was of “huge significance” for the Northern Powerhouse, an initiative by the UK government to boost economic growth in the North of England, as it would connect regions and economies, bring new tourists to attractions in the Lake District and make travel easier for residents of Cumbria and the surrounding areas.

Some of Cumbria’s best-known producers, such as The Lakes Distillery and Grasmere Gingerbread, set up shop at the airport as part of a celebration of the region’s businesses.