LOGANAIR has expanded the range of routes it operates under its own tartan banner after clinching a deal to fly to Belfast, Dublin and London Southend from Carlisle Lake District Airport (CLDA) from the summer.

The deal with Stobart Group, the logistics giant which owns Carlisle and Southend airports, will see the Glasgow-based airline look to cash in on the Lake District’s huge popularity among tourists.

It is expected that the flights will appeal to customers in the south west of Scotland, given their proximity to Carlisle.

The routes will be the first commercial and business flights to operate from Carlisle since 1993 when they go live in June and come amid a major drive to develop CLDA into a major airport for the Cumbrian region. The Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership has invested £4.95m in the development of the airport, located in an area which attracts around 45 million tourists per year.

The agreement between Loganair and Stobart also offers a further illustration of the Scottish firm’s ambition to establish itself as a branded carrier in its own right.

Loganair launched the first flights under its own livery in 25 years in September, which came after its long-standing agreement to serve the Highlands and Islands under a contract with Flybe came to an end. Loganair immediately began offering services it previously ran for Flybe, and added new routes to its network, including Bergen, Norway.

But the new services from Carlisle are not the first routes to be operated by Loganair outside its native Scotland. The company, which has around 650 staff, offers flights from a base in Norwich, where it employs around 24 pilots, crew and engineers.

Loganair managing director Jonathan Hinckles said: “We’re both delighted and honoured to become the first operator at the new Carlisle Lake District Airport, and this partnership with Stobart will open up Loganair’s services to a whole new range of customers. With frequent services on each of the three routes, we have every confidence that these new flights will transform access to and from the Lake District for many thousands of customers each year, as well as serving areas like the South West of Scotland.”

“This move highlights Loganair’s growing reputation as an airline that consistently looks for ways to develop into new markets and we are confident that its brand will travel well south of the border.”

Under the Stobart deal, Loganair will connect CLDA with Belfast, Dublin and London Southend with eight flights per day during week days, and 12 in total on weekends. Two return flights will be run between CLDA and London Southend during from Monday to Friday, with one taking place on Saturdays and two on Sundays. A daily service will run on each day of the week to Dublin and Belfast City, though the Northern Irish airport will not be served on a Saturday.

Kate Willard, head of corporate projects at Stobart Group, said: “Stobart Group is committed to delivering a brilliant air travel experience across the UK and Ireland. There is huge demand from London, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to visit Carlisle, which is home to major businesses and serves as a gateway to the Lake District, two UNSCO World Heritage Sites and South Scotland.”