The British Hospitality Association (BHA) has criticised the government's move to delay a decision on whether to build a third runway at Heathrow Airport until next year.
Last week, it emerged that a decision due for the end of this year on the runway had been delayed until the summer of 2016.
The announcement prompted dismay among business groups, with one, the British Chamber of Commerce, describing it as "gutless".
The BHA was more measured in its tone, but in a statement issued yesterday, chief executive Ufi Ibrahim (pictured), said: "It is illogical that on one hand the government states commitment to an ambitious programme to increase UK exports by 2020, and on the other hand it delays the most important decision needed to drive exports to the UK."
She added: "The success of the government's own Great campaign relies heavily on the timely expansion of aviation capacity. Therefore it seems incongruous to channel increased funds into promoting exports if we aren't going to have the green light on facilitating that growth through our main airports to the UK. Ours is an international industry, representing the UK to visitors and investors from across the world. Our government stalling on such an important decision sends the wrong message to our export markets and damages the sustainable livelihood of our businesses, particularly our SMEs reliant on our international aviation hub for traffic across all of Britain."