The aviation and travel sectors have combined forces to step up lobbying for Air Passenger Duty to be slashed in this month’s Budget.

They pressed their case for a halving of the air tax to the Treasury and Number 10 Downing Street with the support of MP Grant Shapps.

The A Fair Tax on Flying campaigners handed in a letter signed by more 40 members of the British Infrastructure Group of MPs and Peers that Shapps chairs.

They highlighted the damaging impact of the high level of APD on trade and connectivity and called for a “decisive” cut in the tax.

A petitioning letter was handed in to the door of Number 10, urging the prime minister to act on APD.

Representatives of Airlines UK, Airport Operators Association, Bar-UK, Abta, UKinbound, Virgin Atlantic, American Airlines and Bristol airport supported Shapps as he hand-delivered a letter to HM Treasury.

Former Tory party chairman Shapps said: “As it stands APD is acting as a ‘tax on trade’ with the UK having the highest level of air passenger taxes in the world.

“Only aviation can connect the UK to the emerging markets that are seen as vital to our continued post-Brexit prosperity.

“If the government is to act on its commitments, especially around securing new trading partners outside the EU, it must make it as easy as possible to do business.

“Our current high levels of APD place these commitments at risk. We urge the chancellor to cut APD to show Britain is open for business, boost tourism and reduce the cost of holidays for hard pressed families.”

A Fair Tax on Flying Campaign spokesman Henk van Klaveren added: “Harnessing the support of MPs and peers is a vital part of our campaigning work to secure a cut of at least 50% in APD.

“We’re grateful to Grant Shapps for his high-profile support and to the growing list of MPs now listed as supporters on our campaign website.

“The whole economy needs an APD cut of at least 50% to get us on a level playing field with the next highest aviation tax country in the EU, Germany.”