British prime minister, Boris Johnson, has outlined plans for a review of air passenger duty on domestic flights.

A consultation will examine options including creating a new lower domestic rate or exempting return flights in an effort to boost connectivity in areas “left off” the transport map.

The move is likely to be welcomed by struggling airline operators hit by Covid-19 but worry environmental groups.

Johnson said he wanted to cut air passenger duty on domestic flights to “support connectivity across the country” and help the economy bounce back from the pandemic.

Airlines have been lobbying for a reduction in air passenger duty, claiming the levy will hinder rebuilding following the Covid-19 shutdown.

The standard rate for UK flights will rise to £26 per customer per flight next month.

However, environmental groups say reducing the cost of flying will make it difficult if not impossible for the UK to meet its target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 as aviation is the single largest source of emissions.

The review will also look at the case for increasing the number of international distance bands.

Since 2015, there have only been two bands, one covering flights of up to 2,000 miles and the other those in excess of that.

Further plans to decarbonise aviation will also be examined, including mandating the use of sustainable aviation fuels across the industry.