The bosses of airports operator BAA and Bmi have lent their weight to industry condemnation of Monday’s hike in Air Passenger Duty.

BAA chief executive Colin Matthews said: “While we must all play our part in the recovery, we need sensible tax policy that doesn’t stunt growth and damage our competitiveness as this does.

“Ultimately, increasing APD will hurt consumers and businesses alike as it makes it more expensive to fly from the UK compared with other countries.
“The knock-on effects of this will be longstanding and bigger, more environmentally-efficient jets will not be able to fly from our airports if passengers decide they can only afford to fly long-haul from our European neighbours instead.”

Bmi chief executive Wolfgang Prock Schauer said: “We are extremely disappointed that the Government has chosen to increase tax on air travellers at a time when we should be encouraging people to travel.

“UK businesses and leisure travellers depend on good connectivity on shorter and longer routes. This tax increase will seriously disadvantage air travellers departing from the UK.”

They joined leaders from British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, easyJet and Abta in attacking APD increases.