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Carlisle Lake District Airport
File:Carlisle Airport.jpg
Airport type Private
Owner Stobart Airports Ltd
Operator Stobart Air Ltd
Location Irthington
Elevation AMSL 190 ft / 58 m
Coordinates 54°56′15″N 002°48′33″W / 54.9375°N 2.80917°W / 54.9375; -2.80917Coordinates: 54°56′15″N 002°48′33″W / 54.9375°N 2.80917°W / 54.9375; -2.80917
Cumbria UK location map
Airplane silhouette.svg
Location in Cumbria
Direction Length Surface
m ft
01/19 938 3,077 Asphalt
07/25 1,837 6,027 Asphalt
Statistics (2010)
Aircraft Movements Decrease 18,419
Year-on-year change -13.9%
Passengers nil
Sources: UK AIP at NATS[1]
Statistics from the UK Civil Aviation Authority[2]

Carlisle Lake District Airport or Carlisle Airport (IATA: CAX, ICAO: EGNC) is located 5 NM (9.3 km; 5.8 mi) east northeast of Carlisle, Cumbria, England.

Carlisle has a CAA Public Use Aerodrome Licence (Number P855) that allows flights for the public transport of passengers or for flying instruction, up to a maximum takeoff weight authorised (MTWA) of 12.5 tonnes.

The airport is located on a hill side above the River Irthing. The airport has been the location for some prehistoric excavations [3]

Since 30 May 2009, the airport has been owned by the Stobart Group on a 150 year lease, expiring 2150.


RAF Crosby-on-EdenEdit

In the early 1930s, Cumbria County Council opened Kingstown Municipal Airport, at the time outside the borough boundaries which later became the RAF Kingstown and is now Kingstown or Kingmoor Industrial estate. With the outbreak of war in 1939, RAF Kingstown's runway was too small for bombers, so the Royal Air Force developed a new airstrip at Crosby-on-Eden.[4] The new facility came into operation in February 1941 for training operations, designating the station RAF Crosby-on-Eden.

Originally housing No.59 Operational Training Unit the station provided day training for Hawker Hurricane pilots,[5] which was replaced by OTU17 Group Coastal Command in August 1942 for training long-range fighter crews on Bristol Beaufort and Bristol Beaufighter conversion squadrons, as well as air firing and night flying.[6] In August 1944 the station came under the command of 109 OTU, a transport command of Douglas Dakotas.[7] The station was renamed 1383 TCU 1/8/45. However, the station had no post war use or need, and was closed in 1947 with the airfield returning to Carlisle City Council to continue as a municipal airport.

Purchase by the local authoritiesEdit

In 1960 Cumberland County Council purchased the site and renamed it Carlisle Airport. After a short refurbishment programme it was licensed in 1961 for training purposes and civilian flights to destinations including London, the Channel Islands, Belfast and the Isle of Man.[4] In 1968 the airport was transferred to Carlisle City Council. Most of the original RAF structures remain intact today, although a lack of investment and maintenance has restricted much of the perimeter road, as well as shortening and weight restricting the runways.

In 1997, the council agreed to extend the runway to allow Boeing 737's to land into a new air-cargo hub, but the proposal collapsed.

Sale to Haughey AirportsEdit

As the airport had lost £3.5 million on operations between 1979 and 1994, Carlisle City Council agreed to sell the airport on a 150 year lease to Haughey Airports in 2000. The company was owned by Northern Irish entrepreneur Edward Haughey, who owned nearby Corby Castle in Cumbria. Haughey invested £4 million in infrastructure improvements but, whilst promising to provide additional facilities and enhancements to the site for the Solway Aviation Museum, he sold the airfield to WA Developments in 2006 before achieving this.

Acquisition by WA DevelopmentsEdit

On 7 April 2006, Haughey Airports was acquired by WA Developments, which had acquired Eddie Stobart Ltd., the UK's largest haulage contractor, in February 2004. Haughey Airports Ltd was renamed Stobart Air Ltd and a sub-division within WA Developments called Stobart Air was formed. The airport was then re-branded Carlisle Lake District Airport.

Under WA Developments, some development was planned for Carlisle Lake District Airport which would have seen the introduction of freight and passenger services in the future, along with the re-surfacing of the existing runway to accept larger aircraft as part of a £21 million development.[8][9] Ryanair also expressed an interest in using the completed airport as a hub.[10]

Becoming part of the Stobart GroupEdit

Following WA Developments' decision to merge Eddie Stobart with the property and ports company the Westbury Property Fund on 15 August 2007 and to list it on the London Stock Exchange as the Stobart Group, Carlisle Lake District Airport initially remained within the ownership of WA Developments, through its subsidiary Stobart Air Holdings. On 10 March 2008, the Stobart Group entered into a £50,000 option, expiring in July 2008, to acquire Carlisle Lake District Airport from Stobart Air Holdings for £15 million (£2.5 million in cash and £12.5 million in new Stobart Group shares). [1] This option was extended in July 2008 until January 2009 for a further £50,000.

On 2 December 2008, the Stobart Group announced the surprise £21 million purchase of London Southend Airport.

Planning permission was granted in December 2008 for the Carlisle Lake District Airport expansion and other developments, including a resurfaced runway and new terminal, a major transport and distribution facility for Eddie Stobart Ltd, along with a joint headquarters building.

In January 2009, Stobart Group's subsidiary, Stobart Airports Ltd, exercised its option to acquire Carlisle Lake District Airport from Stobart Air Holdings for £14 million (£1 million less than originally announced). Following an independent shareholder vote, the acquisition was completed on 30 May 2009, and the purchase price was reduced to £9.9 million due to a fall in the value of Stobart Group shares. In October 2009 Andy Judge (former Leeds-Bradford, Bournemouth and Luton Airports Operations chief) took over as airport manager. On 7 October at the Cumbria Tourist Board's AGM he confirmed that work at the airport would have begun early 2010 and hoped that flights to Paris, Belfast and Dublin would be in operation by 2011.[11]

However, on 19 May 2010 the Court of Appeal overturned the City Council's decision to grant planning permission due to an objection by a local farmer, a Mr Gordon Brown, on the grounds that a full environmental assessment had not been carried out before permission was considered. Eddie Stobart Ltd. expressed disappointment with the ruling and stated that (although they still retained a long-term commitment to Cumbria), in view of contractual obligations, they would now instead have to use facilities elsewhere.

On 17 January 2011, Stobart Air submitted proposals to build a 394,000 sq ft (36,600 m2) Air Freight Distribution Centre on the site. Under the plans, Eddie Stobart would re-locate all its Carlisle depots to the airport, and there would be passenger flights to and from London Southend Airport, operated by Aer Arann, an airline 5%-owned by the Stobart Group through 35 €1 preference shares acquired on 10 November 2010. On 3 August 2012, Stobart Air was given permission by Carlisle City Council to develop the airport under these proposals. These included the raising and re-profiling of the main runway at the airport. The warehousing contracts would deliver the rental income required to help upgrade the airport facilities and allow passenger flights to commence. Aer Arann identified that passenger routes from Carlisle to Dublin and the Stobart-owned London Southend Airport would be sustainable. Andrew Tinkler, Stobart Group chief executive, said: "The decision is extremely positive for the people of Cumbria as it will drive the economy, boost tourism and safeguard over 800 direct and indirect jobs." [12]

Current operationsEdit

Carlisle Lake District Airport's main activity at present is to provide facilities for flight training. The airport is currently host to various businesses: Carlisle Flight Training and Aero Club [2] , Border Air [3] and Northumbria Helicopters. The airport is also home to the Solway Aviation Museum. A lorry driving training company, System Training, is based at Carlisle Airport Business Park, a site opposite Carlisle Lake District Airport, and was featured in Series 2, Episode 7 of the Channel 5 TV programme Eddie Stobart: Trucks & Trailers, first aired on 30 June 2011. Edd Stobart, the 20-year-old son of Stobart Group Chief Operating Officer William Stobart, passed his HGV Class 2 driving licence using that school.

Airlines and destinationsEdit

Carlisle Lake District Airport does not provide any commercial passenger flights at present, but it is hoped that at some point in the future, Dublin and London flights will be operated by Aer Lingus Regional. Subject to planning approval by Carlisle City Council, Aer Arann hope to commence a link from Carlisle Lake District Airport to Stobart Air's other base at London Southend Airport and to Dublin, basing an ATR42 aircraft at Carlisle. A decision was expected on 8 July 2012 at a city council meeting, but on 7 July 2012 the decision was deferred.[13]

Former airlines and destinationsEdit

Although regular scheduled flights from the airport have operated, some have never been commercially viable leading to a series of failed operations:

  • In 1982 Air Ecosse started flights to Scotland (Aberdeen, Glasgow, Dundee), and London, followed a year later for two summer seasons only to the Isle of Man. After the collapse of Air Ecosse in 1985, its routes ceased and only the route to London continued, being run for two years by EuroAir.[14]
  • In 1985 Viking began flights to Jersey as a charter operation but the following year operated as a schedule by BAF until October 1987.[14]
  • In 1987 Air Furness briefly revived Isle of Man flights until July 1988.[14]
  • In 1993 New Air started a London service to London Stansted Airport, but collapsed two months later. Lakeside Northwest continued the service until the end of the year, but also collapsed.[14]
  • In 1994 Northumberland-based Geordie Air Travel never got off the ground.[14]
  • In 1995 Lewis Holidays planned to run Saturday flights to Jersey, which never happened.[14]

Accidents and incidentsEdit

In popular cultureEdit

  • In early 2011, BBC Radio 1 announced Carlisle Lake District Airport as the venue for their annual free music festival, Radio 1's Big Weekend. The festival took place over the weekend of 14/15 May 2011 and featured headline acts, such as Lady Gaga, My Chemical Romance and the Foo Fighters. The festival is to date the biggest free-ticketed event in Europe, attended by 40,000 fans over 2 days. The BBC assembled an assortment of 'stages' on the site, including a huge main tent, with a capacity of over 12,000.[17]
  • The airport has also been used for smaller concerts, such as bands like The Script in 2011.

See alsoEdit


External linksEdit

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