Flybe is urging the Chancellor not to hit aviation with more taxation in today’s Pre-Budget Report.

The regional airline is concerned that Alistair Darling will use the vital speech, which outlines the government’s future tax and spending plans, as an opportunity to increase Air Passenger Duty in a bid to balance its ailing books.

However, the airline said any further taxation increases could lead to falling passenger numbers and could force the airline to make job cuts as it already struggles to deal with bigger fuel costs and the collapsing pound.

Chairman and chief executive Jim French said: “When the then Chancellor Gordon Brown doubled APD in March 2007, there was an immediate drop in air travel by some 4%.

“It cannot be right that, at a time when even the government’s own statistics show that aviation is more than covering its climate change costs, the Chancellor piles further pressure on one of the country’s most successful industries and places further a burden on suffering UK businesses.

“The government has spent billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money on bailing out the bankers in London and surely now it’s the turn of hard-working families who save up for their annual holiday.

“Slapping a further tax on holiday flights and business travel will be the clearest message yet that the government will support the Square Mile while the UK regions are hung out to dry.”

Meanwhile Cheapflights head of corporate communications John Barrington-Carver welcomed the anticipated tax cuts for the public in today’s report which is hoped will stimulate the economy.

He said: “At a time when the economy slows down your tax receipts start to fall. If you then were to start cutting spending or trying to get more tax out of people that would make a difficult situation worse, so what you do is you support the economy by helping businesses, by helping people.”