The British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) has called for Air Passenger Duty (APD) to be suspended in light of the Flybe collapse.
Despite holding the title of Europe’s largest regional airline, Flybe fell into administration on 5 March.
With former Flybe chief executive Mark Anderson saying the coronavirus outbreak contributed to its failure, Balpa has asked the government to include a suspension of APD in the next budget.
This would help airlines through “what is likely to be an extremely difficult summer”, Balpa said.
Iata has warned Covid-19 could crush European air passenger numbers by a third and cost the global aviation sector more than $100 billion.
“Right now there is a strong case for the government to suspend APD for the next six months, and make significant reductions in the longer term to help this struggling industry,” said Brian Strutton, Balpa’s general secretary.
“Demand is down so much over the summer that we could easily see more airlines collapse without government action, and that would have a significant knock-on effect to the economy.”
APD currently costs UK airlines £3.7 billon per year, Strutton said.
The chancellor of the exchequer, Rishi Sunak, will present his budget to Parliament on 11 March. A spokesman from the treasury said it did not wish to comment.