Business

New Loganair flights from Belfast to Lake District 'will take off in spring'

FLASHBACK: Loganair cabin crew announce new routes last year from Carlisle including a six-times weekly service to Belfast City Airport. Those flights never took off due to air traffic control issues, but look set to start this spring
Gary McDonald Business Editor

A NEW air service connecting George Best Belfast City Airport with Carlisle Lake District Airport could begin "within weeks", it has emerged.

Scottish regional airline Loganair, which serves more than 30 routes across the UK, Ireland and Norway, will be undertaking the first commercial flights from Carlisle airport in 20 years.

The six-times-a-week service was meant to have commenced last June, but was withdrawn due to issues around air traffic control staff training at Carlisle.

But yesterday the airport's owner Stobart Group said once the Civil Aviation Authority was satisfied with air traffic control concerns, tickets for Loganair flights to Dublin, London Southend and Belfast would go on sale.

It refused to specify a precise date for its first flight but said it hoped it will be "in the spring".

There is keen demand from Northern Ireland and the Republic to visit Carlisle, which is home to major businesses and a gateway to the Lake District, two UNESCO World Heritage sites and south Scotland.

Katy Best, commercial director at Belfast City Airport, speaking last year at the announcement of the original service, said: "I'm delighted to welcome both a new airline and a new route to Northern Ireland directly connecting the region to the Cumbria and Lake District areas for the first time.

"Local demand for connectivity to the northern English county is evident among both business and leisure passengers and the six times weekly Loganair service will accommodate affordable and convenient access.

"The airline will be operating this route as a partner of Stobart Group making the arrival of strategic importance to Belfast City Airport where developing our route network remains a primary aim."

The Carlisle route update comes after Loganair confirmed on Thursday that will take over the former Flybmi route from City of Derry Airport to London Stansted from February 27.

It follows the collapse of Flybmi, which had operated flights between the airports since 2017.

The airline filed for administration and ceased operations a week ago.

Loganair's managing director Jonathan Hinkles said the airline was "extremely pleased" to have been selected after competitive tender process.

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