CARLISLE'S MP says it might take up to three years of "rebuilding" before the city's airport can stand on its own two feet.

John Stevenson has written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak asking for support for regional airports such as Carlisle's Lake District Airport after operators Stobart confirmed they were "reluctantly but unavoidably engaged in consultations" with staff about redundancies.

When approached by the News & Star, Stobart refused to confirm how many jobs were at risk, but some sources put it at 30. Stobart did say "Covid-19 continues to have a devastating effect on the aviation industry" and Carlisle airport "is no exception".

Despite the news, the firm added "although we remain confident that the airport has an important regional economic role to play in the long term, the short term is challenging."

Responding to the news, the city's MP commented: "Very disappointing news but sadly probably not unexpected given the situation we are in at the moment with Covid and the challenges that has brought to the aviation industry.

“The most important thing now is to look at a plan for regional airports for Carlisle and others. Myself and colleagues in Cumbria have written to the Chancellor asking him to support regional airports including Carlisle.

“I have spoken to [transport secretary] Grant Shapps and he wants to see a financial package for the revival of regional airports."

He says the Government understands his concerns.

“I think there is a recognition that regional airports are important for both connectivity and economic development in different parts of the country," continued Mr Stevenson.

“Carlisle Airport has tremendous support across Borderlands because of the positive impact it could have.

“I have aways said it is important from a psychological element and the way it looks that we have an airport that wants to grow opportunities around the airport, that will support the airport and grow its additional offers. There are different aspects to be looked at."

Mr Stevenson said these could be anything from offering office space to fulfilling its ambition to become a freeport, which would see goods that come in avoid tariffs and would see benefits from other incentives, such as tax breaks.

“After two or three years of rebuilding themselves and growing its activities then there is no reason why they can’t stand on their own two feet," added the MP.