REGIONAL airports in England will lose more than two million passengers by 2025 if cuts to air passenger duty in Scotland are not offset by measures to support smaller bases south of the Border, according to a new study.

A report by consultancy, York Aviation, warns that without policies to mitigate the effects of potential APD reductions in Scotland and Wales, English regional airports could see their passenger numbers fall by around 2.2 million by 2025 as holidaymakers cross the Border to access cheaper fares.

The research paper was commissioned by an alliance of eight English regional airports, including Newcastle, Birmingham and Bristol.

The airport alliance says that the impact, particularly for those in the North, is so great that to "do nothing" is not an option.

In a joint letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, they go on to say that, if UK-wide matching is not possible, then Scottish reductions should be matched at all non-congested UK airports.

This would, they argue, meet the Prime Minister’s commitment made during the General Election campaign that the government will ensure other airports “don’t lose out”.

David Laws, Chief Executive of Newcastle International Airport, said: “All of our regional airports play a vital role in supporting the local economy and connecting businesses across England with opportunities around the world. This devolution of powers has the potential to greatly damage this positive impact.

“Our modelling shows, if APD was lowered for non-congested regional English airports, they would be protected from the impacts of devolution to Scotland and that such an approach would help to rebalance the economy while assisting key Government strategies.”

The York Aviation report predicts that if a 50 per cent reduction in Scotland is matched at non-congested airports across the rest of the country, passenger numbers at English regional airports would increase by up to 6.5 million per year by 2025.

That rises to 16.5 million if the Scottish Government's ambition to scrap the duty altogether is rolled out to the English regional airports as well.

The letter has been signed by the chief executives of Bristol, Birmingham, Newcastle International, Norwich International, Liverpool John Lennon, Exeter International, Doncaster Sheffield and Durham Tees Valley airports.