Delays in the runway reopening at Carlisle Airport are being blamed for the closure of Border Air’s Carlisle flying school.
In a statement on their website Border Air said: “We received notification over the weekend that Carlisle Airport will not re-open on Monday 4th June 2018. We have been very patient over the past 7 months with the airport operator Stobart Aviation, having reviewed the options and impact on our business it’s clear that we are unable to return to flying at Carlisle Airport.”
The news comes just days after the airport, which is owned by Stobart Group, announced that Loganair would be unable to start commercial flights this month. Stobart Group blamed a lack of qualified air traffic controllers.
Loganair had been due to begin flights to Dublin, London and Belfast from the airport which has received nearly £5m in funding from the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).
Border Air has carried out flight training at Carlisle since 1991 but has been unable to operate for the last 7 months due to the airports runway undergoing improvements. They were recently taken over by Cloud Global Group.
Border Air’s Managing Director Graeme Frater said: “Carlisle Airport not being open for the past 6 months has had a detrimental effect on our business. Today we reluctantly take the decision to shut our operation at Carlisle Airport permanently.”
“This is hugely disappointing for everyone, especially our customers”
“We’re working hard to inform all customers and we completely appreciate the frustration this news may cause.”
“All customers will be given the opportunity to fly from Cumbernauld & Oban Airports”
Mr Frater added, “We would like to thank everyone involved with Border Air for your patience during the past 6 months, particular praise to Kirkbride Airfield for accommodating us at short notice this year, today’s announcement will also see the end of Kirkbride Airfield as our temporary base”
Kate Willard, head of corporate projects at Stobart Group, said: “Following the announcement of the delay to the launch of commercial and business flights at Carlisle Lake District Airport, we are taking this opportunity to conduct further and final tests on all technical and operational matters relating to the airport. This extensive process may impact some of the businesses, including flight schools, which operate out of the airport. We would therefore like to thank them for their patience, understanding and continued support for our shared project.
“It is important that we get everything absolutely right for the 3rd of September and give the people of Cumbria and the Lake District region the airport they deserve. As previously stated, the growing global shortage of qualified air traffic control staff available to meet training and regulatory deadlines resulted in the airport being unable to open. We have noted the understandable frustration around the delay, something we were deeply disappointed with. But we are continuing to work tirelessly and we are wholeheartedly committed to working with all of our partners.”
Border Air has said that all staff, employees and contractors will have the opportunity to continue working within Cloud Global Group at either Cumbernauld, Oban or Perth Airport’s.