Carlisle has been dealt a major blow as the future of passenger air services hangs in the balance.

Loganair, which operates flights from the city’s Lake District Airport, has announced it has no plans to resume flights.

Stobart Group also expects to make some roles redundant at the Carlisle airport

A spokesman for Loganair said: “We have no plans for the foreseeable future to restart flights from Carlisle airport.

“A significant number of air services across the UK have been suspended or deferred through Covid-19 impacts on demand. The Carlisle services are amongst them.”

Stobart Group, which own and operate the airport, said the Carlisle facility had felt the full force of the coronavirus pandemic and the company was not currently in a position to secure a passenger airline agreement on commercial terms.

Gareth Ellis, deputy leader of Carlisle City Council, said: “It’s extremely disappointing that’s what happened, we’re seeing a contraction in the industry right across the board.

“A lot of business plans are based around planes being filled and having bums on seats.

“My wife and I have flown to Ireland from Carlisle and it was a great experience. It was great to be at home with a cup of coffee one and a half hours after having left Ireland.

“It’s a blow for the area and the airport, but we need to wait and see if another outfit is willing to give it a try.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty around the industry at the moment and I think we’ll only really know in six to 12 months if the industry will bounce back, if people start flying routinely again.

“When I flew with Loganair they were great and it’s a shame that people haven’t had the opportunity to experience that.

“If capacity grows there is no reason why another operator can’t take it over.”

Stobart Group said: “COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on the aviation industry and Carlisle Lake District Airport (CLDA) has felt the full force of this. The understandable decision by many airlines to cease operations for several months has seen a significant reduction in operations and bases closed across the country.

"UK domestic aviation has been hard hit, particularly in view of the requirement to pay Airline Passenger Duty twice. This reduction in airline operations is likely to continue for some time, particularly as we approach the off-peak winter season.

“The situation, which affects many regional airports across the UK, is of course disappointing for all involved but as a result of this backdrop, CLDA is not currently in a position to secure a passenger airline agreement on commercial terms, with airlines currently focused on flights between major population hubs.

“The airport team is taking an innovative approach to identifying new opportunities in general aviation, business aviation, logistics and military flying. However, the loss of commercial operations is significant and without the associated operating income we need to review our staffing needs, which will inevitably lead to redundancies.

“We continue in our endeavours to gain fully funded Public Service Obligation (PSO) routes and Freeport status. Gaining PSO routes would support regional connectivity, enable key air links across the UK and help address economic rebalance. We are also playing a significant role in the region’s Freeport application and the combination of PSO routes and Freeport status would deliver a material boost to the region’s economy.

“We are committed to making Carlisle and Lake District Airport a success and are currently working on our recovery plan to reopen the airport.”