[C]arlisle Lake District Airport will now launch scheduled commercial services in spring 2019.
The airport has made enormous progress on a major infrastructure programme, including the building of a brand-new terminal and office complex, a full-length reconstruction of its runway and completion of car parks and access roads.
However, along with the shortage of qualified Air Traffic Control Officers (ATCOs) available to meet training and regulatory deadlines, some areas of the construction programme require additional time to achieve regulatory approval.
We have, therefore, taken the decision to open the airport for General Aviation in July 2018, but to defer scheduled commercial services to spring 2019.
Kate Willard, head of corporate projects at Stobart Group, said: “We know how much the launch of commercial flights at the airport means for Cumbria, the south of Scotland, and the Lake District.
“We have been working around the clock and physically we are ready. But it is extremely important that this major project, which will connect the region to the tourism and business hubs of London, Dublin and Belfast, is safe and operationally compliant so as to be sustainable in the long term.
“This requires both a full complement of trained and experienced operational staff being in place from commencement – to deliver a sustainable flight timetable – and also an infrastructure which fully meets regulatory requirements.
“To stress, the team have and will continue to do a completely brilliant job with regard to bottoming out all of these issues.
“The last commercial flights at Carlisle Lake District Airport were in 1993 and we remain wholeheartedly committed to working with all of our partners towards reinstating successful and sustainable services.”
A spokesperson for Loganair said: “This is hugely disappointing for everyone, especially our customers. We remain fully committed to our partnership with Stobart Aviation to commence regular commercial services from Carlisle Lake District Airport at a point when the airport can confirm it is ready to receive commercial flights.
“We have, today, issued a communication to all our affected customers and have updated our website with information regarding this and the options available to them.
“We fully realise how very frustrating this must be for everyone and we are committed to working hard to ensure we help as much as we can given the circumstances.”