Travel industry leaders reacted angrily to the Chancellor’s failure to freeze, cut or review Air Passenger Duty (APD) saying it would damage UK growth prospects.

The Fair Tax on Flying coalition described the rise in APD due on April 1 as “disappointing”.

Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer said: “It is incredibly disappointing the Chancellor has decided to forge ahead with another increase when the tax is already the highest of its kind in the world.

“Travel and tourism offer real growth opportunities, but APD is holding the industry back. As well as affecting UK tourists and business travellers, the government is discouraging foreign visitors to the UK.”

Darren Caplan, chief Executive of the Airport Operators Association, said: “These year-on-year rises in APD are fundamentally damaging the UK’s competitiveness.

“Recent World Economic Forum figures show we are now 139th out of 140 countries in the world for ticket taxes and airport charges – only Chad was placed lower.

“We pay the highest passenger tax on flying in the world. Only a handful of countries in the EU tax passengers on international air travel at all.”

British Air Transport Association chief executive Simon Buck said: “In light of the UK’s sluggish economic recovery the government should be searching for new ways to boost growth and one of these would be to cut APD, not increase it further.”

Dale Keller, chief executive of the Board of Airline Representatives (BAR UK) added: “All the evidence is that APD sucks more money out of the economy than it generates.

“We have passed the tipping point where lasting damage to the UK’s aviation sector is now a certainty.”