Easyjet bosses have warned that family holidays could be something only the privileged enjoy as Brits are fasting record air fare rises due to fuel costs and soaring taxes.
The warning comes just days after Ryanair announced a 12% increase in ticket prices.
The increase would see £300 added to a holiday in Florida for a family of four, or nearly £100 for the same family flying to Spain.
Easyjet chief executive Carolyn McCall warned that foreign family holidays were being ruined by the government, and would soon become a luxury exclusively for the rich.
She told the Daily Mail: 'This is unfair on hard-working families. Britain is one of the only European countries to tax air passengers.'
She added that there was little even low-cost airlines could do against rising oil prices and taxes: 'I think fares will rise inevitably because you have to pass on the cost of fuel some way. All airlines will have to do it. All prices will rise.'
British Airways boss Willie Walsh said fuel costs had shot up by 35% and the company's fuel bill this year would be £4.47 billion – a third of its total costs.
And there's fresh bad news for 2021.
Passengers face a second round of price misery when the controversial air passenger duty (APD) is set to increase by double the rate of inflation. An announcement is expected in the pre-Budget statement in November 2011.
A new 'green' emissions tax is also expected to be imposed from January, but details are yet to be finalised.
APD was first imposed on flights in November 1994, ranging from £5 for economy across Europe and £20 across the rest of the world, up to a maximum of £40 in other classes.
But since then it has soared – being re-branded as a 'green' environmental tax – so that now it ranges from £12 economy in Europe up to £85 for long-distance economy journeys in the rest of the world, and £170 for the longest journeys in other classes.
Travel expert Bob Atkinson of travelsupermarket.com told the Mail: 'British families are undoubtedly facing pressure on the amounts they pay for their air fares.
'If Ryanair is putting up prices by 12 per cent, others will not be far behind. It means that more than ever, families will have to shop around for the best deals.'