HALTON logistics giant Stobart has won permission for an £25 million expansion of Carlisle Airport, expected to safeguard up to 800 jobs.

The company is to build a 374,000 sq ft distribution centre and raise the profile of the main runway at Carlisle Lake District Airport.

Andrew Tinkler, chief executive of Stobart Group, 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.

"The freight distribution centre will allow Eddie Stobart to attract new clients while providing the rental income required to develop Carlisle Airport and commence passenger operations.

"Additional group revenue streams will be realised as we link Carlisle and Southend airports to give passengers seamless connections to Europe."

Irish airline Aer Arann, part-owned by Stobart Group, has said it would operate passenger services from Carlisle.

Stobart hopes Carlisle Airport will attract 200,000 passengers annually by 2025.