GEORGE Osborne unveiled an aid package to encourage new routes from Southampton Airport in yesterday’s ‘Budget for Savers’.

The Government will pay half the charges faced by new carriers for three years, in a bid to encourage them to choose smaller regional airports.

The help will cover fuel costs, landing charges and baggage charges and any fees to help the development of an airport, but not air passenger duty, Treasury officials said.

Last night, Southampton Airport was studying the announcement, but said: “We are pleased to hear that support for starting new routes has been mentioned in the Budget.

“We will be studying the details to see if it will be applicable to new routes at Southampton Airport.

“If so, this is really positive news.”

It comes just days after the Daily Echo revealed how plans are afoot to extend the runway by 150m to enable flights as far afield as Greece, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe.

The move could pump an extra £50m in to the local economy.