Airport bosses from across the regions have called on the Chancellor to abandon the ‘one size fits all’ tax policy to help stimulate local economies.
In a joint letter to George Osborne, the airports, which include Birmingham, Bristol and Manchester, have called on him to cut Air Passenger Duty (APD) at all regional airports after the tax was reduced in Northern Ireland to help save its struggling Belfast to New York route.
Under the new deal, APD on all long-haul scheduled flights from Northern Ireland will be reduced from £60 to £12 for passengers travelling in economy class, and from £120 to £24 for those in business class - the same as on short haul routes.
Birmingham Airport chief executive Paul Kehoe said: “The Government has already decided against airport expansion elsewhere and has indicated that existing spare capacity regions should be utilised. However, if a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to aviation taxes continues, they will simply be unable to deliver on this.
“We have argued for some time that APD has a disproportionate impact on the regions, including those that rely on crucial lifeline air services.
"They have a lower percentage of business travellers or inbound tourists than the London airports and have been hit hard by the economic downturn. By reducing the APD it would support economic growth and the rebalancing of the UK economy.”
The letter also urges the Government to provide economic incentives to encourage airlines to make better use of regional airports where capacity is available.