Reforming Air Passenger Duty rather than abolition is one of three suggestions being put forward to free up spare capacity at smaller airports across the UK.
The boss of Southend airport wants to see the air tax removed on flights from smaller airports to encourage airlines to base more flights outside larger airports.
The suggestion forms part of a submission to government consultation on a new national aviation strategy which closes today.
Southend airport currently serves 1.2 million passengers every year but has the capacity and plans to grow to 10 million.
Glyn Jones, CEO of airport owner Stobart Aviation said: “With serious doubts that there will ever be a third runway at Heathrow, the government needs to address the airport capacity issue now.
“The good news is that there is lots of spare capacity in smaller airports up and down the country that with a bit of support could be freed up to help.
“Unless we act, our two biggest airports are just going to get fuller and fuller with delays and customer service getting worse and worse.”
Jones also called for a streamlining of the planning process, claiming that applying for planning consent to improve terminals and infrastructure is disproportionately expensive for smaller airports.
Smaller airports also need better rail and road connections so passengers can more easily choose more local alternatives to Heathrow and Gatwick.
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