Carlisle Lake District airport has suffered another setback to opening, with commercial services now not set to begin until the spring of 2019.
The airport was originally meant to open for commercial flights on 4 June this year, with Scottish carrier Loganair confirmed as a launch partner. However, it was announced in May that the opening would be delayed until 3 September.
Now, Stobart Group has taken the decision to delay the launch of commercial services until 2019 due to continuing shortages of qualified air traffic control staff, although the airport is open for general aviation purposes.
Kate Willard, head of corporate projects at Stobart Group, said: “We know how much the launch of commercial flights at the airport means for Cumbria, the south of Scotland and the Lake District.
“We have been working around the clock and physically we are ready. But it is extremely important that this major project, which will connect the region to the tourism and business hubs of London, Dublin and Belfast, is safe and operationally sustainable in the long term.
“This requires both a full complement of trained and experienced operational staff being in place from commencement – to deliver a sustainable flight timetable – and also an infrastructure which fully meets regulatory requirements.”
A spokesperson for Loganair added: “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 airport at a point when the airport can confirm it is ready to receive commercial flights.”
Loganair says it has informed all affected passengers.