Scheduled passenger flights from Carlisle Airport could take off in a year’s time.
Stobart Air, the aviation subsidiary of airport-owner Stobart Group, has applied for start-up aid from the Government’s Regional Air Connectivity Fund.
It is asking for support for daily services from Carlisle to London Southend, Belfast and Dublin to begin in April 2016.
Funding of £56 million is available over three years to subsidise new routes from regional airports that handle fewer than 5m passengers a year.
The three routes from Carlisle are among 19 under consideration for the latest tranche of aid.
Others include Norwich to Paris and Southampton to Lyon with Flybe, and Oxford to Edinburgh with Links Air.
Stobart should find out in May if its bids have cleared the first hurdle, and by July if they have been successful.
Nobody from the company was prepared to comment.
Aviation Minister Robert Goodwill said: “The range and ambition of the bids shows how smaller airports can transform their local areas with new connections and trade links.
“This announcement builds on the Government’s commitment to ensuring smaller airports grow, boosting both local and national economies.”
The Regional Air Connectivity Fund was launched in June 2013 and has already supported routes from Dundee and Newquay into London.
Stobart proposed daily flights to Dublin and twice-daily flights to London Southend as part of its planning application for the redevelopment of Carlisle Airport.
The Belfast route is an addition to those plans.
A £12m redevelopment of Carlisle Airport is underway and should be complete by September. Stobart is building a freight distribution centre and resurfacing the runway.
Previous attempts to launch scheduled flights from Carlisle have ended in failure.
Air Ecosse started flights to Scotland and London in 1982 and, the following year, to the Isle of Man.
The Manx route was axed after one year and in 1985 Air Ecosse pulled out altogether.
Its daily flights to Heathrow were transferred to EuroAir, which withdrew two years later.
Viking began flights to Jersey in 1985 but went into receivership in 1987.
That same year, Air Furness briefly revived Isle of Man flights.
Nothing then happened until 1993 when New Air restarted a London service with flights to Stansted – only for the firm to go into receivership within two months.
Almost immediately Lakeside Northwest started a London service.
It ran up huge losses and collapsed by the end of the year.
Geordie Air Travel announced a service to London Docklands in 1994, only to call it off – blaming lack of custom – before the first flight departed.
The following year Lewis Holidays, which had promised flights to Jersey, pulled out a week before the service was due to begin.