The British Air Line Pilots Association is stepping up its fight against the introduction of ID cards at Manchester airport, after the government made clear today its intention to push ahead with the scheme.

The cards will be made available later this year to residents of Greater Manchester on a voluntary basis at an estimated cost of £60 each.

But some airport workers such as pilots, cabin crew and baggage handlers who work airside will be forced to carry a card or lose their job.

Balpa is considering legal action on the grounds that the ID card scheme presented to Parliament was a voluntary one.

“It is demonstrably unfair that the people of Manchester can choose whether they want the card, while pilots and other airside workers are being forced to have one if they want to keep their jobs,” said Balpa general secretary Jim McAuslan.

“We will resist this with every lawful means at our disposal. This could include taking legal action while fighting this in Parliament and seeking the support of the travelling public.”

A spokesperson for Balpa said the association had already received hundreds of messages of support from the general public.