Abta has expressed its disappointment over a failure by the Chancellor of the Exchequerto change Air Passenger Duty (APD) to a per plane tax when he announced the budget today.

Speaking in the House of Commons, George Osborne said no immediate changes will be made to the tax, meaning the increases scheduled to take place in November will go ahead.

Mark Tanzer, Abta’s chief executive, said: “Tax on aviation – through APD – in this country has risen disproportionately over the past five years.

“We all know that Osborne has to balance the books, but to maximise the tax take on aviation, they must set it at a level where people can still afford to fly – not tax people out of the skies.

“While leisure travellers are particularly price sensitive, higher aviation duty also has the potential to have a very detrimental effect on inbound tourism to the UK.”

However, Tanzer said he was pleased Osborne said further consultation would be undertaken over proposals to change APD from a passenger tax to a per plane tax.

He added: “It is now up to us to make sure we brief and have full and detailed discussions with Government Ministers and civil servants before George Osborne reports back in the autumn.

“While we broadly welcome the proposed switch from Air Passenger Duty to per plane duty, it is essential that the levels and the mechanisms are set correctly so that ordinary people are not taxed out of flying.

“We have already held a meeting with Justine Greening – the treasury minister taking the lead on aviation taxes – and we will ensure that we continue to meet with her team to fully brief them on our sector.

“Travel matters to our economy – aviation contributes more than £11 billion in GDP, to jobs – 700,000 British jobs depend on aviation – and the welfare of hardworking people – nearly 40 million holidays were taken abroad in 2009 by British citizens.

“If Osborne wants everyone to know that the ‘UK is open for business’ – then it must be affordable for people to get here and depart.