AN airport could lose hundreds of thousands of passengers to Scottish rivals unless the Government addresses tax concerns, it is claimed.

Newcastle Airport bosses have called on ministers to introduce fresh support for English bases over air passenger duty (APD) to fend off increasing competition from over the border.

The warning comes after officials previously said Newcastle could be left “with one hand behind its back” due to an unfair APD landscape that could see airlines leave the region and head to Scotland.

Their fears have been heightened after Scottish administrators introduced the Air Departure Tax Bill to replace APD and committed to reducing it from 2018.

Nick Jones, Newcastle Airport’s interim chief executive, said Chancellor Philip Hammond’s Budget, which he will deliver later this week, was the perfect opportunity to provide some relief.

He said it was time the Government honoured previous commitments made by former Prime Minister David Cameron, wherein he said Downing Street wouldn’t allow airports and regions to be adversely impacted by the devolution of APD.

Mr Jones added: “The impact of changes to APD in Scotland on both the airport and the North-East economy is so great that we must raise this important issue back up the Government’s agenda.

“Our modelling suggests that if Scotland reduces the tax to zero then we could lose between 500,000 and 900,000 passengers per year.

“Our air services could also be affected and would make it difficult for the airport to grow.

“Newcastle Airport is the international gateway for the North-East and this would have a great impact on the entire region.

“The airport is crucial in delivering connectivity with a number of our routes very important to the business economy, providing them access to global markets.

“We welcome the recent dialogue we have had with the Government and hope this will lead to the identification of an appropriate solution during the course of 2017.”

Earlier this year, The Northern Echo exclusively revealed transatlantic flights between Newcastle and cities such as New York and Boston, were “not off the table”.

Officials also revealed the enduring success of its flagship Emirates’ service between the North-East and Dubai could yield further routes with the company.

John Irving, business development manager, said any additions would follow the launch of city services with Ryanair and Easyjet and replace United Airlines' New York flights, which ended last year when the carrier blamed weak demand and EU referendum worries for its decision.

He added: “It is definitely still part of what we are trying to do.

“Can we get another carrier to serve New York or Boston?

“We are in conversations but it won’t happen that quickly.”