Airlines are deserting UK airports, cancelling services, and instead flying from cheaper European airports because of Britain's high aviation taxes, according to a survey of airport operators.
A survey by the 'Fair Tax on Flying' alliance has found that half of airport operators blame Britain's Air Passenger Duty (APD) for airlines transferring services to airports on the Continent.
The survey also said that airport operators are forecasting that nine million fewer passengers will travel through British airports next year due to the Treasury's planned double-inflation hike in APD.
Britain's levy of APD is the highest in the world and a family of four flying economy to the US ends up paying £240 more than passengers flying there from most other European countries.
In a letter to chancellor George Osborne, BAA chief executive Colin Matthews and representatives from 11 other airports said that the combination of the planned APD increase and the introduction of the European Union's carbon emission trading scheme next year would harm regional economies.
It said: ''The business case for further rises in APD simply does not stack up. The impact will be to deter people from flying or to displace flights to Europe rather than to generate more tax revenue.''