Fewer people could choose to fly from regional airports in the UK after the government announced an increase in air passenger duty (APD), a leading cheap flights carrier has warned.
Ryanair has said that the government’s decision to increase APD for short haul traffic from £10 to £11 in 2009 and £12 in 2010 would be "regressive" and potentially damaging to the tourist industry.
Commenting on the decision, Ryanair’s Michael Cawley said that BAA figures had shown that passenger traffic had fallen since the tax was first introduced.
"Our greatest concern is the devastation this regressive tax will have on our regional bases, which we have grown due to Ryanair’s commitment to lowering fares," he said.
Mr Cawley added that Ryanair had released one million £10 fares to demonstrate the need for airfares, airport charges and environmental taxes to be kept low.
The airline has confirmed that it will enter into discussions with the UK’s regional airports to asses the future viability of passenger traffic growth in light of the increased cost.
It was reported earlier this month that five regional airports in Ireland had sent a joint plea to the country’s finance minister calling for a removal of air-travel tax in its current form.