UK airlines say government plans to make airport workers the first British nationals to carry national ID cards will add to the industry's costs without improving security.
The British Air Transport Association (Bata) said none of its members liked the proposal and most have signed a letter of protest to home secretary Jacqui Smith.
Roger Wiltshire, Bata secretary general said there was no additional security value for airports and it would serve only to put people on the government register.
"We already have rigorous processes for identification and checking that includes a criminal background check in accordance with government regulations," he said.
Wiltshire said the industry was already battling rising fuel and tax costs, so the last thing it needed was the additional cost of ID cards at around £30 each.
The airline industry is unwilling to take on the cost of being the first to adopt the ID cards when there is no guarantee the scheme will be rolled out nationally.
The Conservative party has criticised the introduction of ID cards and is widely expected to scrap the scheme if returned to government.