A new regional airport has opened in the UK and a second airport showing signs of being restored after years of inactivity.

The new facility is Carlisle Lake District Airport in northwest England, near the Scottish border and the Lake District National Park.

On a site that was formerly a military air base, the airport has been owned in recent years by the Stobart Group. One group subsidiary, Stobart Air, provides franchise and wet-lease services for several airlines, including Ireland flag carrier Aer Lingus and UK regional Flybe.

Stobart Group has created a new passenger terminal, runways and taxiways at Carlisle, aided by funding from the region’s Local Enterprise Partnership, which brings together local government bodies and private companies to encourage businesses in the locality. The Stobart Group has also been responsible for a £12 million ($15 million) air freight distribution center adjacent to the airfield.

The airfield should have opened for airline operations in summer 2018, but this was twice postponed because of a shortage of air traffic controllers.

Initial services from Carlisle are being operated by Scottish regional carrier Loganair, which has started flights to Dublin, Belfast City and London Southend using Saab 340 turboprops. The main runway, 06/24, is 1,799m in length and capable of handling narrowbodies of Airbus A320/Boeing 737 size.

Meanwhile, at the opposite end of England, Manston Airport in Kent, southeast of London, may be in line for revival as a freight hub and short-haul passenger services after developers RiverOak Strategic Partners (RSP) bought out previous owners Stone Hill Park.

Manston closed as an active airfield in 2014 and the site had been earmarked for several thousand houses, a proposal turned down by the local council in 2018.

Before it closed, Manston’s main aviation business was as a cargo airfield, aided by its unusually long 2,750m main runway.

RSP sees cargo as a cornerstone in the revival of the airport, which it hopes to re-open in spring 2022.

Alan Dron alandron@adepteditorial.com