The commencement of scheduled air services from Carlisle Lake District Airport, planned for Monday 4 June, has been postponed until Monday 3 September.
The growing global shortage of qualified air traffic control staff available to meet training and regulatory deadlines has resulted in the airport being unable to open for commercial air services in time to proceed with the planned 4 June launch date.
Kate Willard, Head of Corporate Projects for Stobart Group, said: “It is with enormous regret that we must advise that the launch of scheduled services from Carlisle Lake District Airport has been delayed.
“This major project to launch air services from a new airport relies not only on the airport’s infrastructure being complete but also on a full complement of essential operational staff being in place.
“Regrettably, changing circumstances around staffing means that this cannot be completed in time for the airport to receive scheduled flights as planned on 4 June, despite every possible human effort being made.
“We know just how much this airport means to the people of Cumbria, South Scotland and the wider North West region and remain fully and wholeheartedly committed to working with all of our partners towards the new September launch date.”
Carlisle Lake District Airport continues to work with all stakeholders, including the Civil Aviation Authority, and Loganair is today informing affected passengers. We are confident that the revised 3 September launch date is practical and achievable.
In the meantime, Carlisle Lake District Airport will still open for general aviation traffic, requiring a lesser level of air traffic control provision than that required to support scheduled services.
Loganair’s Managing Director Jonathan Hinkles said: “Together with our partners, Stobart Aviation, we reluctantly had to take the decision to delay the launch of flights to London Southend, Dublin and Belfast City.
“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 in September.
“We’re working hard to inform all passengers and we completely appreciate the frustration which disruption to travel plans can cause. We have taken the decision to delay to September to provide the greatest level of certainty that the new target date for the introduction of services will be met, allowing the travelling public to book with confidence.”
All passengers are being contacted by the airline and provided with the option of a full refund or assistance with alternative flights from Manchester or Glasgow as the customer may choose.
For those planning to attend the inaugural celebrations at Carlisle Lake District Airport on 4 June, these will now take place on Monday 3 September.
James Duddridge, MP for Rochford and Southend East, added: “A three month delay is obviously frustrating but not unheard of in major infrastructure projects like a new airport. The decades of debate about new capacity in the South East of England, to which London Southend is part of the answer, place this hiatus in perspective. I look forward to celebrating the opening of scheduled services between Southend and Carlisle on September 3.”