What Happened To Loganair’s Flights From Carlisle Lake District Airport?

Located in the far northwest of England, the city of Carlisle is one of several in the country (with London Oxford being another) to have an airport not presently served by any commercial flights. The most recent services operated to and from the facility saw Loganair serve three regional destinations. But what happened to them?

A brief history of Carlisle Lake District Airport

Carlisle isn’t located too far away from a major international airport, with Newcastle (NCL) being less than 100 km (62 miles) away by road. Nonetheless, the prospect of the city having its own scheduled flights would always be an exciting one.

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Like many UK airports, Carlisle Lake District Airport (CAX) began life as a Second World War military airfield, known in this instance as RAF Crosby-on-Eden. Located just under 10 km (6.2 miles) outside the city, it was renamed Carlisle Airport in 1960 after Cumberland County Council acquired the site. By this time, the RAF had long since departed, with its base there having closed in 1947.

In the latter part of the 20th century, various operators attempted to sustain scheduled services to and from Carlisle, but none enjoyed long-term success. Similarly, the airport had plans to become a cargo hub following a runway extension in 1997, but this proposal also fell through. Moving into the 21st century, it was renamed Carlisle Lake District Airport in 2006 (after the nearby national park).


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Loganair’s launch

The renaming of the airport in 2006 coincided with its acquisition by WA Developments. Three years later, in 2009, the facility was taken over by the Stobart Group. This proved to be the catalyst for a series of extensive development plans, which included the reintroduction of scheduled passenger services from Carlisle.

Plans for these first arose in the mid-2010s and were realized just before the end of the decade. The goal was achieved in July 2019, when Scottish regional carrier Loganair launched services to Belfast City (BHD), Dublin (DUB), and London Southend. These were the airport’s first scheduled services since 1993. Commenting on the launch, Loganair Managing Director Jonathan Hinkles stated:

“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.”

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Curtailed by coronavirus

The mood onboard the inaugural flight was optimistic, and Loganair ended up serving more than 8,000 passengers at Carlisle by the end of 2019. However, unbeknownst to those involved in making the dream reality, unprecedented disruption was on the horizon in the form of coronavirus. This led to the flights’ suspension in March 2020, with Simon Williamson, the airport’s MD, stating:

“The unprecedented situation that we are all facing is having a major impact, with the Government advising against all unnecessary travel. This decision reflects that important advice.”

At this point, just under 2,500 passengers had used Loganair’s Carlisle services in 2020. Unfortunately, this would be as high as the figure would get, with In-Cumbria reporting in June 2020 that Loganair had no plans to return. Even with travel now recovering, the airport is yet to see any more scheduled flights. It will be interesting to see which, if any, airlines will give Carlisle a second chance in the future.


Source: In-Cumbia



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