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Sunday, 31 August 2014

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Passenger flight dream one step closer

PASSENGER flights from Cumbria should boost tourism and help to attract inward investment, business leaders say.

The prospect of daily flights from Carlisle Airport to London Southend and Dublin came closer when city councillors granted planning permission for a £25m redevelopment last week.

Stobart Group hopes to build a 394,000 sq ft freight distribution centre and resurface the runway for air freight and scheduled passenger services.

Planning consent could be confirmed in a matter of days once a legal agreement between the council and Stobart is signed. There is as yet no date for work to begin.

Rob Johnston, chief executive for Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, had been lobbying on Stobart’s behalf.

He said: “The chamber has been consistent on this. There are a number of benefits, not least for tourism.

“A working airport sends out the message that Carlisle and Cumbria are open for business – and that you can get there.”

John Grainger, managing director of Invest in Cumbria, is equally convinced that the airport will benefit businesses.

He said: “The airport will be a huge economic benefit, not just for north Cumbria but for Dumfries and Galloway, the Borders and western Northumberland.

“There are three things Carlisle needs to be taken seriously as a city – as opposed to a town – a Football League team, a university and an airport. It looks like we’ve got all three.”

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