Carlisle airport, gateway to the Lake District, will get its first scheduled passenger flights for a quarter-century on 4 June, when Loganair starts services to Southend, Belfast City and Dublin.
The Cumbrian airport, which is owned by Stobart Group, will have eight flights a day from Monday to Friday, and a total of 12 at weekends.
Jonathan Hinkles, managing director of Loganair, said: “We’re delighted to become the first operator at the new Carlisle Lake District Airport, and will be opening 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.”
The aircraft used will be 34-seat Saab 340Bs, with two pilots and one cabin crew member.
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]]>Test bookings made by The Independent show one-way fares from Carlisle to Belfast for £40, and to Dublin and Southend for £45.
Between Carlisle and London, the fastest trains take three hours, 20 minutes, for an off-peak fare of around £120 return. The flight to Southend is scheduled for one hour, 25 minutes.
Passengers from Carlisle heading to Dublin will be able to clear US immigration checks in the Irish capital.
Kate Willard, head of corporate projects at Stobart Group, said: “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 Unesco World Heritage Sites and south Scotland.”
The Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership is paying almost £5m for improvements to the runway and terminal.
Before passenger services ended in 1993, Carlisle had links to Heathrow, Dundee and elsewhere.
Carlisle airport faces strong competition in an area with a sparse population. The distance to Newcastle airport is 46 miles away, and to Prestwick 81 miles. For access to the Lake District, Manchester has a direct rail connection to Windermere.