The industry must continue to keep up the pressure on APD, despite doubts that the government will ever seriously consider reducing the tax.
The Barclays forum was told that lobbying would continue to be important in order to prevent further rises in the controversial tax which the industry claims is damaging tourism and economic growth.
Challenged to answer the view that opposing APD was a waste of time because a government during a downturn was never likely to forgo the revenue of one of the most easy to collect taxes, Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer said: "This is a long-term siege rather than a knock out blow."
The association's head of public affairs Luke Pollard (pictured) added: "It's an easy tax to collect but at the same time it's something that has a material effect on the bottom line on everybody's business in here and it's dampening growth.
"We need to keep going on at this, we need to be united. If we divide our voice, as it's sometimes tempting to do, governments will simply go through us and keep hiking up the tax."
Tanzer said the failure to persuade government on APD as well as on Heathrow expansion contradicted assumptions of the strength of airline lobbying often blamed for a lack of progress in getting carriers into Atol financial protection.
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