Industry leaders were hoping the long campaign for a review of APD would bear fruit in the Budget on Wednesday.

But they were prepared to be disappointed by chancellor George Osborne.

EasyJet chief executive Carolyn McCall said: “The message from every airline and every UK airport is to scrap APD.”

Speaking at Gatwick as easyJet launched its first flight to Moscow, McCall said: “APD is bad for the economy, but it’s easy for the government to levy.”

Dale Keller, chief executive of the Board of Airline Representatives (Bar UK), said: “Airlines have become alarmed by the lack of understanding from the Treasury. Does the UK really need the highest aviation tax in the world?”

However, travel sector finance specialist Graham Pickett of Deloitte said: “Osborne has no room for manoeuvre. APD is not going away. It will rise at the inflation rate.

“The industry has the sympathy of the Department for Transport, but the Treasury is not listening. Nothing is going to change.”

Pickett added: “The government would lose credibility in the capital markets if it softens its [deficit reduction] policy.

“The eurozone crisis is not going away and the UK is influenced in a big way by the euro. The industry is in for its fair share of the cost of the mess we are in.”

The Treasury has already signalled an inflation-linked rise in APD next year.