The CEOs of easyJet, IAG, Ryanair and Virgin Atlantic have jointly lambasted the UK’s aviation taxation policy after it ranked 139th out of 140 countries in a competitiveness study.

The World Economic Forum’s Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2013 ranked the country virtually at the bottom of an index for the competitiveness of its airport and aviation taxes, which triggered a further outcry over the UK taxes, particularly the contentious Air Passenger Duty (APD) levy.

The report has prompted a further joint call for action from easyJet CEO Carolyn McCall, Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary, IAG CEO Willie Walsh and Virgin Atlantic CEO Craig Kreeger.

“The WEF report shows that Britain has the highest aviation taxes and charges in the world, ranked 139th out of 140 and rubbing shoulders with countries like Chad, Senegal and the Dominican Republic. It’s hard to find another comparable table on a key measure of international competitiveness which shows the UK to be trailing the rest of the world,” the CEOs said.

They described the level of APD as “unjustified” and “destructive” and have called on the UK chancellor to abandon APD in the forthcoming budget.

Citing a recent PWC report, they said such a move would boost GDP by “at least £16 billion ($24.2 billion) in the first three years” and create nearly 60,000 new jobs, resulting in a net gain for the country.