Carlisle Airport is to get a multi-million pound boost to bring international passenger flights to Cumbria.
Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is set to invest £4.75m in the airport, which is owned by Stobart Group, to improve the county's connectivity.
This investment will allow the creation of new passenger routes to Belfast, London Southend and Dublin, with plans for an international hub with direct flights to most of Europe and cities in the US including New York, Boston and Washington.
Last month outgoing Stobart Group chief executive Andrew Tinkler said passenger flights could be leaving the airport from summer 2018.
Rob Johnston, a Cumbria LEP board member, said: “Carlisle airport is crucial to Cumbria’s growth ambitions. It is a key strategic asset for the county. Developing the airport’s passenger offer will play an important role in maximising Cumbria’s tourism potential by helping to increase international visits. It will also allow easier business travel to and from the county.
“The airport will also help facilitate wider economic growth, and reinforce Cumbria’s position in the nuclear and renewable energy sectors. It has the potential to become a strategically significant logistics hub.
“It could also enable a number of sectors to move freight by air, therefore reducing congestion on the road and rail network. “
Carlisle Airport – branded as Carlisle Lake District Airport – is at Irthington, near Brampton.
The news came as Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry paid a visit to Carlisle to see the airport and met Mr Tinkler, as well as paying a visit to the University of Cumbria's STEM labs at its Fusehill Street campus.
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