Carlisle Lake District airport re-opened for commercial fights for the first time in a quarter of a century today.

The Stobart Group-owned airport has attracted Loganair to offer 28 flights a week to Dublin, Southend and Belfast City with 33-seat Saab 340B aircraft.

Fares to Belfast City start at £39.99 and to Dublin and Southend at £44.99.

The opening was delayed by a year due to difficulty recruiting air traffic controllers and infrastructure work.

The airport, a former RAF airfield, has been upgraded with a new terminal, runways and taxiways.

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Stobart Group partnership development director Kate Willard said: “Not only is this airport a significant new part of the Northern Powerhouse’s transport infrastructure – it is also a shining beacon of confidence and pride for Cumbria, Carlisle, the wider Lake District region and the Borderlands.”

Loganair managing director Jonathan Hinkles said: “This is an historic day for both Loganair and Carlisle Lake District airport as the first commercial air services for 26 years take to the skies.

“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.”

Transport secretary Chris Grayling said: “It’s fantastic to be here as passenger flights return to Carlisle airport for the first time in 26 years, bringing new connections, jobs and investment to the region.

“Our Aviation 2050 strategy outlines our ambition to support regional airports and today’s announcement will bring new international opportunities for the north west.”

 Gill Haigh, managing director of Cumbria Tourism, added: “Opening up new markets is vital in a competitive and fast-paced visitor economy and today’s launch is an exciting day for Carlisle, for Cumbria and for the county’s £3 billion tourism industry.

“We know from working with the Irish markets, that there is a huge appetite for these new routes and there is a great opportunity to link up with transatlantic flights and the lucrative US market.

“Our own visitor survey also demonstrates a growth in visitors from the south-east, so the airport is providing further accessibility and convenience for these passengers.”

More: Passenger flights to resume at Carlisle after 25 years