Stobart have applied for part of the £56 million government funding for three domestic flight routes
Stobart Air, the aviation subsidiary of airport-owner Stobart Group, has applied for start-up aid from the Government’s Regional Air Connectivity Fund. It has asked for funding support for daily services from Carlisle to Southend, Belfast and Dublin to begin in April 2016. In January the Government announced that small airports, that handle fewer than 5 million passengers a year, were encouraged to bid for a share of the £56 million over 3 years to subsidise new routes. The three routes from Carlisle are among 19 under consideration for the latest tranche of aid. Others wanting the aid include Norwich to Paris and Southampton to Lyon with Flybe, and Oxford to Edinburgh with Links Air. Stobart should find out in May if its bids have cleared the first hurdle, and by July if they have been successful. A £12 million redevelopment of Carlisle Airport is under way and should be complete by this September. Stobart is building a freight distribution centre and resurfacing the runway. Previous attempts over many decades to launch scheduled flights from Carlisle have ended in failure. Aviation Minister Robert Goodwill said: “The range and ambition of the bids shows how smaller airports can transform their local areas with new connections and trade links.”
Passenger services may start from Carlisle Airport next April
31.3.2015 (News & Star)
by Julian Whittle
Scheduled passenger flights from Carlisle Airport could take off in a year’s time.
Stobart Air, the aviation subsidiary of airport-owner Stobart Group, has applied for start-up aid from the Government’s Regional Air Connectivity Fund.
It is asking for support for daily services from Carlisle to London Southend, Belfast and Dublin to begin in April 2016.
Funding of £56 million is available over three years to subsidise new routes from regional airports that handle fewer than 5m passengers a year.[More details below].
The three routes from Carlisle are among 19 under consideration for the latest tranche of aid.
Others include Norwich to Paris and Southampton to Lyon with Flybe, and Oxford to Edinburgh with Links Air.
Stobart should find out in May if its bids have cleared the first hurdle, and by July if they have been successful.
Nobody from the company was prepared to comment.
Aviation Minister Robert Goodwill said: “The range and ambition of the bids shows how smaller airports can transform their local areas with new connections and trade links.
“This announcement builds on the Government’s commitment to ensuring smaller airports grow, boosting both local and national economies.”
The Regional Air Connectivity Fund was launched in June 2013 and has already supported routes from Dundee and Newquay into London.
Stobart proposed daily flights to Dublin and twice-daily flights to London Southend as part of its planning application for the redevelopment of Carlisle Airport.
The Belfast route is an addition to those plans.
A £12m redevelopment of Carlisle Airport is underway and should be complete by September. Stobart is building a freight distribution centre and resurfacing the runway.
Previous attempts to launch scheduled flights from Carlisle have ended in failure.
Air Ecosse started flights to Scotland and London in 1982 and, the following year, to the Isle of Man.
The Manx route was axed after one year and in 1985 Air Ecosse pulled out altogether.
Its daily flights to Heathrow were transferred to EuroAir, which withdrew two years later.
Viking began flights to Jersey in 1985 but went into receivership in 1987.
That same year, Air Furness briefly revived Isle of Man flights.
Nothing then happened until 1993 when New Air restarted a London service with flights to Stansted – only for the firm to go into receivership within two months.
Almost immediately Lakeside Northwest started a London service.
It ran up huge losses and collapsed by the end of the year.
Geordie Air Travel announced a service to London Docklands in 1994, only to call it off – blaming lack of custom – before the first flight departed.
The following year Lewis Holidays, which had promised flights to Jersey, pulled out a week before the service was due to begin.
Government receives 19 bids for regional airport funding
By Tom Newcombe
The government has published the details of 19 bids it received during the first application stage for funding from the Regional Air Connectivity Fund.
The funding is available for brand new routes for regional airports which handle fewer than 5 million passengers a year.
The Regional Air Connectivity Fund was announced by the government in June 2013. The fund is used to maintain regional air connections. The government doubled the size of the fund to £20 million per year in the 2014 Budget.
Among the 19 bids which have been received during the initial application stage include:
Daily Flybe route between Norwich and Paris Charles de Gaulle (proposed to start April 1, 2016)
Double daily Flybe route between Norwich and Dublin (proposed to start April 1, 2016)
Daily Stobart Air route between Carlisle and Belfast (proposed to start April 1, 2016)
Daily weekday Bmi Regional route between Doncaster Sheffield and Frankfurt (proposed to start April 1, 2016)
The final short-list of airports that have met the criteria will be made in early May. Those successful routes will then move forward to the “strategic and economic appraisal stage”, with successful bids being announced in July 2015.
The Regional Air Connectivity Fund has a total of £56 million available to cover 3 years of financial support for start-up aid.
Previous beneficiaries of the funding include Flybe’s Newquay to Gatwick airport route, which chief secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander referred to as being “vital for Cornwall’s businesses, tourist industry and residents”.
Regional airports asked to bid for up to £56 million funding for new routes over next 3 years
By Department for Transport and Robert Goodwill
22 January 2015
Airports and airlines are being urged to bid for government funding of up to £17.5 million in the next year to help launch new routes.
This ‘start up aid’ will be made available from the Regional Air Connectivity Fund, which was announced by the government in June 2013 and is open to airports with fewer than 5 million passengers per year. This fund has already been partly distributed to support strategic routes to London from Newquay and Dundee but is now being extended to bids for more routes.
The £56 million is available to cover 3 years of financial support for start-up aid, with £17.5 million being made available to bids in 2015/16 and around £20 million a year for each of the remaining years. The aid will create new routes, boosting connectivity, increasing trade and supporting jobs in the regions. [Not to mention boosting outbound tourism. AW note].
Aviation Minister Robert Goodwill said:
Smaller airports are vital to local economies and ensuring they thrive is a key part of our long term economic plan.
I want to encourage the industry to apply to expand their routes, to generate UK growth and jobs, as well as boosting our trade links with countries all over the world.
Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said:
I created the Regional Air Connectivity Fund because, as a Highlander, I appreciate the immense value of regional air routes to people living in remote communities across the UK.
This fund has already supported valuable services like Newquay’s London route, which has a return of 2.5 for every pound invested, making it great value for taxpayers too. I hope this further funding will help other areas sustain economically important connections too.
To apply for the funding, airports and airlines will have to provide evidence to show their proposed route will generate local benefits and represents value for money. See the guidance for airports on how to apply.
The initial application stage will run for five weeks, closing on Wednesday 25 February. Ministers will announce a shortlist of bids in March 2015. A list of successful bidders will then be published in June.