The UK has the second-highest ticket taxes and airport charges in a league of 140 countries surveyed by the World Economic Forum. Only Chad is more expensive.

The Forum has produced an index of the relative cost of access (ticket taxes and airport charges) to international air transport services as part of its Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2013.

At the top of the index, Swaziland has the lowest cost of access, while Hong Kong is 38th, Germany is 109th and the United States is 127th.

IAG chief executive Willie Walsh, along with other UK airline bosses, said the report provided further evidence that the Chancellor of the Exchequer must take action on the “destructive” Air Passenger Duty (APD) in the Budget on March 20.

But the Chancellor, George Osborne, confirmed in his autumn statement last year that the APD on long-haul flights and in premium cabins is to rise by £2 per passenger from next month. The levy on short-haul economy flights will remain at £13.

The air travel industry stepped up its long-running campaign against APD in February, when British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, easyJet and Ryanair commissioned a study showing that abolition could bring a lasting boost to the UK economy, generating a net tax gain for the Treasury and creating almost 60,000 new jobs.

The study, produced by global accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), said: “Abolishing APD has the potential to reduce the cost of flying, making it cheaper for businesses to maintain relationships with overseas customers … In this sense, APD could be regarded as a tax on exports.”