Loganair, the Glasgow-headquartered airline, is to run new services under a partnership with logistics giant Stobart Group.
The tie-up will see the carrier operating services from the newly-renamed Carlisle Lake District Airport to London Southend – both owned by Stobart – as well as flights from Carlisle to Dublin and Belfast City.
Loganair will operate eight flights per day across the working week and a total of 12 at weekends, connecting Cumbria and the Lake District, which receives some 45 million visitors per year, to the three destinations.
The routes to and from Carlisle have already gone on sale with all services commencing on 4 June.
Jonathan Hinkles, managing director of Loganair, said: “We’re both delighted and honoured to become the first operator at the new Carlisle Lake District Airport, and this partnership with Stobart will open up Loganair’s services to a whole new range of customers.
“With frequent services on each of the three routes, we have every confidence that these new flights will transform access to and from the Lake District for many thousands of customers each year, as well as serving areas like the south-west of Scotland.
“This move highlights Loganair’s growing reputation as an airline that consistently looks for ways to develop into new markets and we are confident that its brand will travel well south of the border.”
Stobart Group’s head of corporate projects Kate Willard added: “Stobart Group is committed to delivering a brilliant air travel experience across the UK and Ireland. We are therefore delighted to be announcing flights with Loganair connecting London, Belfast and Dublin with Carlisle and the Lake District.
“There is huge demand from London, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to visit Carlisle, which is home to major businesses and serves as a gateway to the Lake District, two world heritage sites and south Scotland.”
Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership has committed almost £5 million to the development of the airport, and the services will be the first commercial and business flights from Carlisle since 1993.
Graham Haywood, Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership director, said: “Carlisle Lake District Airport will have a huge impact on Cumbria’s visitor economy and is also a key strategic business asset for the county.
“As well as growing visitor numbers and supporting tourism businesses, development of the airport will open up more commercial industry opportunities, especially in key sectors such as logistics, nuclear and advanced manufacturing.”
In January, it emerged that Loganair had seen its turnover break through £100m despite the airline reporting a dip in annual profits.
Releasing its first set of results since parting company with franchise partner Flybe, the group also said that passenger numbers had increased by 8.6 per cent to an all-time high of 765,091, with 62.8 per cent of seats filled on scheduled services.
The figures for the year to the end of March 2017 showed that there was an 8 per cent increase in turnover from £95.3m to £103m.