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Carlisle Lake District Airport

Carlisle Lake District Airport (IATA: CAX, ICAO: EGNC) is a small regional airport located 5 NM (9.3 km; 5.8 mi) east north-east of Carlisle, England.

Carlisle Lake District Airport
Carlisle Airport.jpg
CAX New Terminal.jpg
Airport typePrivate
OwnerStobart Group
OperatorStobart Air (UK) Limited
Elevation AMSL190 ft / 58 m
Coordinates54°56′15″N 002°48′33″W / 54.93750°N 2.80917°W / 54.93750; -2.80917Coordinates: 54°56′15″N 002°48′33″W / 54.93750°N 2.80917°W / 54.93750; -2.80917
EGNC is located in Cumbria
Location in Cumbria
Direction Length Surface
m ft
01/19 938 3,077 Asphalt
06/24 1,837 6,027 Asphalt
Statistics (2018)
Passenger change 17–18n/a
Aircraft Movements4,330
Movements change 17–18Decrease75.2%
Sources: UK AIP at NATS[1]
Statistics from the UK Civil Aviation Authority[2]

Carlisle has a CAA Public Use Aerodrome Licence (number P855) that allows flights for the public transport of passengers or for flying instruction, up to a maximum takeoff weight authorised (MTWA) of 12.5 tonnes. The airport is located on a hillside above the River Irthing. The airport has been the location for some prehistoric excavations.[3]

Since May 2009, the airport has been owned by the Stobart Group on a 150-year lease, expiring 2151. Between December 2014 and September 2015, a £12 million freight distribution centre was built on the south-eastern corner of the site, which is now leased to Eddie Stobart Logistics. Stobart Group also intended to build a further warehousing and distribution hub from 2017 on land adjacent to the freight distribution centre. After financial assistance from the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, there were plans for passenger flights from June 2018 "to major tourism and business hubs including London, Dublin and Belfast" but the target date was postponed.[4] On 4 July 2019 the new terminal was officially opened, and the first scheduled passenger flights since 1993 were commenced by Loganair to London Southend, Belfast City and Dublin airports.[5]


RAF Crosby-on-EdenEdit

In the early 1930s The City of Carlisle County Borough Council opened Kingstown Municipal Airport, at the time outside the borough boundaries which later became RAF Kingstown and is now Kingstown and Kingmoor industrial estates and business parks. With the outbreak of war in 1939, RAF Kingstown's runway was too small for bombers, so the Royal Air Force developed a new airstrip at Crosby-on-Eden to the east of Carlisle, on the line of the Stanegate Roman road.[6] The new facility came into operation in February 1941 for training operations, designating the station RAF Crosby-on-Eden.

Originally housing No. 59 Operational Training Unit, the station provided day training for Hawker Hurricane pilots,[7] which was replaced by No. 9 OTU, 17 Group, Coastal Command in August 1942, for training long-range fighter crews on Bristol Beaufort and Bristol Beaufighter conversion squadrons, as well as air firing and night flying.[8] In August 1944 the station came under the command of 109 OTU, a transport command of Douglas Dakotas.[9] The station was renamed 1383 TCU on 1 August 1945. However, the station had no postwar use or need, and was closed in 1947 with the airfield returning to Carlisle City Council to continue as a municipal airport.

Purchase by the local authoritiesEdit

In 1960 Cumberland County Council purchased the site and renamed it Carlisle Airport. After a short refurbishment programme it was licensed in 1961 for training purposes and civilian flights to destinations including London, the Channel Islands, Belfast and the Isle of Man.[6] In 1968 the airport was transferred to Carlisle City Council. Most of the original RAF structures remain intact today, although a lack of investment and maintenance has restricted much of the perimeter road, as well as shortening and weight restricting the runways.

In 1997, the council agreed to extend the runway to allow Boeing 737s to land into a new air-cargo hub, but the proposal collapsed.

Sale to Haughey AirportsEdit

As the airport had lost £3.5 million on operations between 1979 and 1994, Carlisle City Council agreed to sell the airport on a 150-year lease to Haughey Airports in 2000. The company was owned by Northern Irish entrepreneur Edward Haughey, who owned nearby Corby Castle in Cumbria. Haughey invested £4 million in infrastructure improvements but, whilst promising to provide additional facilities and enhancements to the site for the Solway Aviation Museum, he sold the airfield to WA Developments Limited in 2006 before achieving this.

Acquisition by WA DevelopmentsEdit

On 7 April 2006, Haughey Airports was acquired by WA Developments, which had acquired Eddie Stobart Ltd., the UK's largest haulage contractor, in February 2004. Haughey Airports Ltd was renamed Stobart Air Ltd and a sub-division within WA Developments called Stobart Air was formed. The airport was then re-branded Carlisle Lake District Airport.

Becoming part of the Stobart GroupEdit

Following WA Developments' decision to merge Eddie Stobart with the property and ports company the Westbury Property Fund on 15 August 2007 and to list it on the London Stock Exchange as the Stobart Group, Carlisle Lake District Airport initially remained within the ownership of WA Developments, through its subsidiary Stobart Air Holdings. On 10 March 2008, the Stobart Group entered into a £50,000 option, expiring in July 2008, to acquire Carlisle Lake District Airport from Stobart Air Holdings for £15 million (£2.5 million in cash and £12.5 million in new Stobart Group shares). This option was extended in July 2008 until January 2009 for a further £50,000.

In January 2009, Stobart Group's subsidiary, Stobart Airports Ltd, exercised its option to acquire Carlisle Lake District Airport from Stobart Air Holdings for £14 million (£1 million less than originally announced). Following an independent shareholder vote, the acquisition was completed on 30 May 2009, and the purchase price was reduced to £9.9 million due to a fall in the value of Stobart Group shares.

Current operationsEdit

Original Carlisle Lake District Airport entrance

Carlisle Lake District Airport covers 460 acres (190 ha), of which 212 acres (86 ha) are used for airport-related activities, and the balance of 248 acres (100 ha) is in the process of being developed for logistics and aviation-related activities.

Its main activity presently provides facilities for flight training and sightseeing flights. The airport is host to these businesses: Carlisle Flight Training and Aero Club, Border Air Training and Northumbria Helicopters.

The airport is the home of the Solway Aviation Museum.

A lorry driving training company, System Training, is based at Carlisle Airport Business Park, a site opposite Carlisle Lake District Airport, and was featured in Series 2, Episode 7 of the Channel 5 TV programme Eddie Stobart: Trucks & Trailers, first aired on 30 June 2011. Edd Stobart, the 20-year-old son of Stobart Group Chief Operating Officer William Stobart, passed his HGV Class 2 driving licence using that school.

ECM (Vehicle Delivery Service) Ltd has its HQ at the airport.[10]

Airport redevelopmentEdit

Since the airport's purchase by WA Developments in 2006, and its subsequent ownership by the Stobart Group since 2009, there have been major plans to redevelop the site. The first phase, the construction of a £12 million air freight distribution centre to the southeast of the site, was eventually completed on 7 September 2015. The second phase, of a further warehousing and distribution hub adjacent to the first distribution centre, is being marketed as of 2017. It is hoped that the third phase, the construction of a £1.5 million anaerobic digester renewable energy plant on a piece of woodland to the west of the site, will be completed by 2018.

There were also plans to commence passenger flights to Belfast, Dublin and London by April 2016 but by 2017 these remained just plans.[11] However, in March 2019 it was reported that flights to London Southend, Belfast City and Dublin airports with Loganair were scheduled to start on 4 July 2019.[5]

Redevelopment plans 1Edit

Under WA Developments' ownership between 2006 and 2009, some development was planned for Carlisle Lake District Airport which would have seen the introduction of freight and passenger services in the future, along with the resurfacing of the existing runway to accept larger aircraft as part of a £21 million development.[12][13] Plans were announced to redevelop the airport site to include a new passenger terminal, an air freight service, a new joint headquarters for WA Developments and Eddie Stobart, and a 750,000-square-foot (70,000 m2) distribution centre.[14] Ryanair also expressed an interest in using the completed airport as a hub.[15]

On 4 April 2008 controversy emerged surrounding the proposed developments to Carlisle Lake District Airport. In response to 63 apparently overly restrictive planning conditions placed on the development plans of Stobart Air, Andrew Tinkler apparently intended to move the Stobart haulage and warehousing operation out of Carlisle to Widnes, as a contingency 'plan B', asserting the redevelopment under the proposed condition would not be completed in time.[16]

By 8 April talks had proceeded and centred on ten disputed points.[17]

On 10 April 2008 it was announced that Andrew Tinkler and Carlisle City Council leader Mike Mitchelson shook hands on a revised list of conditions for the plan.[18]

Redevelopment plans 2Edit

On 2 December 2008 the Stobart Group announced the surprise £21 million purchase of London Southend Airport. The acquisition was completed on 5 December 2008.

Planning permission was granted in December 2008 for the Carlisle Lake District Airport expansion and other developments, including a resurfaced runway and new terminal, a major transport and distribution facility for Eddie Stobart Ltd, along with a joint headquarters building.

On 30 May 2009, Stobart Group purchased Carlisle Lake District Airport from WA Developments for £9.9 million.

In October 2009 Andy Judge (former Leeds-Bradford, Bournemouth and Luton Airports Operations chief) took over as airport manager. On 7 October at the Cumbria Tourist Board's AGM he confirmed that work at the airport would have begun early 2010 and hoped that flights to Paris, Belfast and Dublin would be in operation by 2011.[19]

However, on 19 May 2010 the Court of Appeal overturned the City Council's decision to grant planning permission due to an objection by a local farmer, a Mr Gordon Brown, on the grounds that a full environmental assessment had not been carried out before permission was considered. Eddie Stobart Ltd. expressed disappointment with the ruling and stated that (although they still retained a long-term commitment to Cumbria), in view of contractual obligations, they would now instead have to use facilities elsewhere.

Redevelopment plans 3Edit

Phase 1Edit

On 14 December 2010, Stobart Air submitted proposals to build a 394,000 sq ft (36,600 m2) Air Freight Distribution Centre on the site. Under the plans, Eddie Stobart Logistics would relocate all its Carlisle depots to the airport, and there would be passenger flights to and from London Southend Airport, operated by Aer Arann which would base an ATR 42 aircraft at Carlisle, an airline then five-percent-owned by the Stobart Group through 35 convertible preference shares of €1 each acquired on 10 November 2010.[20] Further details on jobs and flights were supplied in support of the application in July 2011.[21]

On 3 August 2012, Stobart Air was given permission by Carlisle City Council to develop the airport under these proposals. These included the raising and reprofiling of the main runway at the airport. The warehousing contracts would deliver the rental income required to help upgrade the airport facilities and allow passenger flights to commence. Aer Arann identified that passenger routes from Carlisle to Dublin and the Stobart-owned London Southend Airport would be sustainable. Andrew Tinkler, Stobart Group chief executive, said: "The decision is extremely positive for the people of Cumbria as it will drive the economy, boost tourism and safeguard over 800 direct and indirect jobs."[22][23]

Planning approval was subsequently overturned in the High Court in March 2014.[24] On 19 March 2014, Aer Arann changed its name to Stobart Air. Following a change in the law which no longer required Stobart Air to prove that the airport would have to be viable, planning permission was re-granted on 18 August 2014. No application for a judicial review was received and work started on 3 December 2014.[25][26] This was completed on 7 September 2015, and the depot is now leased to Eddie Stobart Logistics.

This first development covers 19 acres, and this site was sold to the real estate investment fund Gramercy Europe for £16.925 million on 22 February 2016.[27]

Phase 2Edit

On 22 November 2016, Stobart Group announced it was developing 21 acres of land adjacent to its existing Air Freight Distribution Centre in an area to be called Eden Park. Eden Park will consist of industrial warehouse and distribution buildings ranging in size from 15,000 sq ft (1,400 m2) to 330,000 sq ft (31,000 m2), and is being marketed as of 2017.[28]

Phase 3Edit

On 1 October 2015, Brampton and Beyond Energy Ltd (BABE) in conjunction with Stobart Energy announced plans to build a £1.5 million anaerobic digester renewable energy plant on a piece of woodland to the west of the site by 2018.[29]

Airlines and destinationsEdit

Traffic statisticsEdit

Passengers and movementsEdit

Carlisle Lake District Airport passenger totals 2017–2018 (thousands)
Updated: 16 March 2019[2]
Traffic statistics at Carlisle Lake District Airport
% change
% change
% change
2017 0   17,439   0  
2018 0   4,330   75.2 0  


Busiest routes to and from Carlisle Lake District (2018)[31]
Rank Airport Total
2017 / 18
1 Belfast–City 0   0%
2 Dublin 0   0%
3 London–Southend 0   0%

Former airlines and destinationsEdit

Although regular scheduled flights from the airport have operated, some have never been commercially viable leading to a series of failed operations:

Accidents and incidentsEdit

In popular cultureEdit

  • Over the weekend of 14/15 May 2011 the airport was used by the BBC to hold the music festival Radio 1's Big Weekend, featuring headline acts such as Lady Gaga, My Chemical Romance and the Foo Fighters. An assortment of stages were assembled on site, including a main tent with a capacity of over 12,000 people.[34]
  • The airport has been used for smaller concerts, such as bands like The Script in 2011.
  • Stobart Fest was hosted at the airport in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Carlisle – EGNC". Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  2. ^ a b "UK airport data: Tables 3, 9 and 13.pdf". UK Civil Aviation Authority. Retrieved 3 April 2019.
  3. ^ "The Prehistoric Society – Past No. 29". Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  4. ^ "Carlisle airport to re-open for scheduled passenger flights for first time in 16 years". The Independent. 23 January 2018. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  5. ^ a b "Home". Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  6. ^ a b News & Star Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "Royal Air Force Milfield". Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  8. ^ "RAF Carlisle airfield". Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  9. ^ History of Dakota KG651 Archived 28 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "ECM (Vehicle Delivery Service) Ltd".
  11. ^ "News & Star – News – Stobart Group chief oversees start of Carlisle Airport work". 16 December 2014. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  12. ^ "Latest News". ITV News. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  13. ^ Poston, Toby (6 September 2006). "Where next for 'Steady Eddie' Stobart?". BBC News.
  14. ^ "Where next for 'Steady Eddie' Stobart?". BBC News. 6 September 2006.
  15. ^ News & Star Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ Stobart Pulls Out Of Cumbria Archived 8 April 2008 at the Wayback Machine Carlisle News and Star , 8 April 2008
  17. ^ Stobart and Council Edge Towards City Airport Deal Archived 12 April 2008 at the Wayback Machine Carlisle News and Star, 8 April 2008
  18. ^ "News & Star". Archived from the original on 12 August 2009. Retrieved 18 February 2010.
  19. ^ News & Star Archived 7 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^ "BBC News – New Carlisle Airport development plan submitted". 17 January 2011. Retrieved 2 December 2011.
  21. ^ "Stobart Group submits extra detail for Carlisle Airport revamp plans". in-cumbria. 19 August 2011. Archived from the original on 31 March 2012. Retrieved 2 December 2011.
  22. ^ "Stobart gets go-ahead for Carlisle Lake District Airport". The Westmorland.
  23. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 29 April 2014. Retrieved 6 November 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  24. ^ North West Evening Mail, "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 29 April 2014. Retrieved 28 April 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  25. ^ "News & Star – News – Carlisle council gives go-ahead to city airport overhaul". 26 October 2014. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  26. ^ "News & Star – News – Deadline for Carlisle Airport objections passes with no legal challenge". 3 November 2014. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  27. ^ "Disposal of Distribution Centre – Stobart Group Ltd (STOB) – RNS Company Announcements – Equities – FE Trustnet". Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  28. ^ "Stobart launches second phase of Carlisle Airport redevelopment". In Cumbria. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  29. ^ "Eco-friendly power plant plans for Carlisle Airport". In Cumbria. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  30. ^ "Passenger flights return to Carlisle airport after 25 years". BBC News. 4 March 2019. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  31. ^ "Airport Data 2018". UK Civil Aviation Authority. Tables 12.1.pdf and 12.2.pdf. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  32. ^ a b c d e f g h M Green. "Highs and lows over 66 years of Carlisle Airport". Times & Star. Archived from the original on 5 May 2013. Retrieved 18 December 2011.
  33. ^ "G-AMVC Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 22 March 2011.
  34. ^ "BBC – Radio 1's Big Weekend 2011 – Home". Retrieved 5 June 2019.

External linksEdit