NORTH East transport chiefs have warned the Government against raising a harmful tax to plug a hole in public finances.
Fears have emerged that the Treasury might look to raise Air Passenger Duty (APD) because falling passenger numbers mean its revenue from the tax has fallen short of plans.
However, aviation bosses actively campaigning against the levy say that measure could be disastrous for regions such as the North East.
Business leaders say air links to the region, and Newcastle International Airport in particular, are crucial for the continued growth of industry and job creation here.
Losing crucial routes, such as those operated by long-haul carriers Emirates and KLM, could damage North East interests as it looks to win high value deals from abroad.
There have been suggestions the tax, levied on all plane passenger tickets, could be increased by almost 25% to combat the lost tax income from falling ticket sales.
Last month, figures from the Department for Transport showed passenger numbers have been depressed by the economic downturn.
However the aviation industry has argued it is soaring taxes which have priced people off aircraft.